Schmalbeck, Benjamin, Young, and Helfer honored with distinguished professorships

April 28, 2009Duke Law News

April 28, 2009 — Professors Richard L. Schmalbeck, Stuart M. Benjamin, Ernest A. Young, and Laurence R. Helfer have been honored with distinguished professorships. The honors were announced at a Duke University ceremony on April 27.

Schmalbeck becomes the first Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Professor of Law. A specialist in tax law who has been a Duke Law faculty member for 25 years, Schmalbeck has focused on issues involving nonprofit organizations and the federal estate and gift taxes. Active in federal tax reform efforts, he has also served as an adviser to the Russian Federation in connection with its tax reform efforts. He is a former dean at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Schmalbeck is the co-author, with Lawrence Zelenak, Duke’s Pamela B. Gann Professor of Law, of a leading casebook, Federal Income Taxation, now in its second edition. Duke Law students have twice honored Schmalbeck with the Duke Bar Association’s award for distinguished teaching.

“I am of course pleased and gratified to receive the recognition connoted by a distinguished professorship at Duke, and I am particularly thrilled to be named to the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett chair,” said Schmalbeck. “Several of the firm's leaders are graduates of our Law School, and it has been my privilege to teach literally dozens of Duke students — always among our very best — who have gone from the corridors of the Law School to the offices of Simpson Thacher around the world. That network of outstanding former students gives me a sense of connection with this firm that is virtually unparalleled.”

Benjamin, who also serves as the Law School’s associate dean for research, received the Douglas B. Maggs chair. A faculty member since 2003, Benjamin is an expert in telecommunications, administrative, and First Amendment law, a well as other areas of constitutional law. His recent articles include “Fixing Innovation Policy: A Structural Perspective,” 77 George Washington Law Review 1-88 (2008) and “Who's Afraid of the APA? What the Patent System Can Learn from Administrative Law,” 95 Georgetown Law Journal 270-336 (2007), both with Arti K. Rai, Duke’s Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, and “Tennis with the Net Down: Administrative Federalism without Congress,” 57 Duke Law Journal 2111-2155 (2008), with Duke Law Professor Ernest A. Young.

Benjamin is the co-author of Telecommunications Law & Policy, a leading casebook now in its second edition. He is a former clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice David H. Souter and a veteran of the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“I am deeply honored to be selected as the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law,” said Benjamin. “Duke is a wonderful community, filled with caring people committed to the highest academic ideals. I feel an enormous amount of gratitude, loyalty, and affection for the community, and I am particularly grateful that its leaders chose to confer this award on me.”

One of the nation’s leading authorities on the constitutional law of federalism, Young was awarded the Alston & Bird Professorship. He has written extensively on the Rehnquist Court's “Federalist Revival” and the difficulties confronting courts as they seek to draw lines between national and state authority. He also writes on constitutional interpretation, constitutional theory, and comparative constitutional law. Young is an active commentator on foreign relations law, where he focuses on the interaction between domestic and supranational courts and the application of international law by domestic courts.

A member of the American Law Institute, Young joined the Duke Law faculty in 2008, after serving as the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, where he had taught since 1999.

“I am very pleased and honored to be named to the Alston & Bird professorship,” said Young. “I'm glad to be a part of the Duke community, and I hope to be involved in strengthening ties between Duke Law and other leading institutions in the Southeast region, including its great law firms like Alston & Bird. And of course I'm particularly honored to be taking up the chair at Duke Law held by my predecessor in federal jurisdiction, Erwin Chemerinsky. Those are awfully big shoes to try to fill.”

Helfer will join the faculty in July 2009 as the Harry R. Chadwick Sr. Professor of Law. He comes to Duke from Vanderbilt Law School where he is professor of law and director of the International Legal Studies Program. At Duke Law he will also serve as co-director of the Center for International and Comparative Law. Helfer is a widely-respected scholar whose research interests include interdisciplinary analysis of international law and institutions, human rights, international litigation and dispute settlement, international intellectual property law and policy, and lesbian and gay rights.

In addition to publishing more than fifty scholarly articles, Helfer is the co-author of the forthcoming casebook, Human Rights (2d edition, Foundation Press, 2009), and author of the monograph, Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Varieties: International Legal Regimes and Policy Options for National Governments (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 2004). He also is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of World Intellectual Property and serves on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law.

“I am delighted to be joining Duke’s rich intellectual community and honored to be included in such distinguished company with my fellow chair holders at Duke Law,” said Helfer.

“These members of our faculty are exceptionally gifted scholars and lawyers who are leaders in their respective fields,” said Dean David F. Levi. “All highly interdisciplinary and committed to the pursuit of knowledge in the service of society, a hallmark of Duke Law School and Duke University, they also are engaged teachers. They are all deeply deserving of these distinguished professorships.”

Levi emphasized the significance of having a professorship named for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. “More Duke Law graduates practice at Simpson Thacher than at any other single law firm. George Krouse [’70] who spearheaded the endowment of this chair, is a former chair of the Law School's Board of Visitors, and his partner, David Ichel [’78] is the incoming BOV chair. As with already established chairs such as the Alston & Bird, Maggs, and Chadwick Professorships, we greatly appreciate the generous investment in our faculty excellence that the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett chair represents.”
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