Birds of a Feather: UVA Law Professors Howard and Heytens Take Home Raven Awards

A. E. Dick Howard and Toby Heytens

For their contributions to UVA, A.E. Dick Howard and Toby Heytens have been recognized by the Raven Society, an honor group co-founded by former law professor and acting dean Raleigh C. Minor more than 100 years ago.

May 6, 2015

University of Virginia School of Law professors A.E. Dick Howard and Toby Heytens received Raven Awards on April 23 in recognition of their service and contributions to UVA. The Raven Society, a campus honor group whose mission is to promote and maintain the University's outstanding reputation, presented the annual awards in a ceremony at Alumni Hall.

Howard, a fellow Raven and the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, is a 1961 graduate of the Law School and has been on its faculty for more than 50 years. He helped draft the Virginia Constitution in its current form, has assisted other governments in the framing of constitutions domestically and abroad, and is a leading expert on the Supreme Court of the United States and other major topics of legal scholarship.

Third-year law student Lide Paterno, in presenting the Award for Faculty to Howard, called the honor "long-overdue recognition."

"His countless books and articles have helped place the University of Virginia at the forefront of the areas of constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism and the Supreme Court, commanding the attention of scholars, dignitaries and lay audiences around the world," Paterno said.

Howard is a former law clerk of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and maintains relationships among the current justices. Paterno said students benefit from the regular visits to the court that Howard arranges and the "behind-the-curtain discussions" with the justices that sometimes follow.

He said Howard also finds joy in building authentic relationships with students.

"I know many of us in this room consider his influence one of the greatest privileges of our time here," Paterno said.

Howard holds degrees from the University of Richmond and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Wake Forest University.

Heytens, a professor of law and 2000 graduate of the Law School who co-instructs the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic , received the Raven Society Award for Alumni.

He was nominated by Juliana Yee, who as an undergraduate at UVA was inspired by Heytens in his role as a coach for the Virginia Mock Trial team. The team became national champions in 2006 and 2007, and Yee heavily credits Heytens, who continued to provide guidance to the team even while working for three years in the Office of the Solicitor General and arguing six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Yee went on to earn her J.D. from Stanford University.

"Although he is a full-time, recently tenured law professor, Toby pours nearly all of his extra time into sharing his knowledge and experience with undergraduate students interested in the practice of law," Yee wrote in her nomination letter.

The team placed third in the national championship this year, marking the fifth year in a row the team has finished in the top 10.

Heytens received his bachelor's degree from Macalester College in Minnesota and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

The Raven Society confers its highest accolade, the Raven Award, to honor students, faculty, administrators or alumni of the University who have "widely and sympathetically shared, supported and advanced" the institution. The society was co-founded in 1904 by campus leaders, among them former law professor and acting dean Raleigh C. Minor. The group is also responsible for the upkeep of Edgar Allan Poe's former living quarters at West Range.


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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