Baxter, Purdy, Richman, and Siegel honored with distinguished professorships

May 6, 2013Duke Law News

Four Duke Law scholars have been honored with Distinguished Chair awards from Duke University.  Professors Lawrence Baxter, Jedediah Purdy, Barak Richman, and Neil Siegel are each the inaugural recipients of their respective distinguished professorships which will take effect on July 1.

To qualify for a chair at Duke, a faculty member must have amassed a substantial record of intellectual achievement and made an outstanding contribution to their field’s practice or application. Each of these scholars has exceeded those standards, said Dean David F. Levi, who nominated them for their respective awards.  “They are all influential thinkers and superb teachers.”

Baxter named the William B. McGuire Professor of the Practice of Law

Baxter focuses his teaching and scholarly research on the evolving regulatory environment for financial services and beyond.  A tenured faculty member of the Duke Law faculty from 1986 to 1995, Baxter rejoined the faculty in 2009 as a visiting professor of the practice of law after serving in executive positions at Wachovia Bank, first as special counsel for Strategic Development and later as corporate executive vice president, founding Wachovia’s Emerging Businesses and Insurance Group and eBusiness Group. He served as chief eCommerce officer for Wachovia Corporation from 2001 to 2006.   Named a professor of the practice of law in 2010, Baxter teaches courses relating to domestic and international banking regulation, law, business practice, and public policy at Duke Law and in the Duke in D.C. program. 

“Lawrence Baxter is one of our leading thinkers in the national debate over government regulation, particularly the regulation of large financial institutions,” said Levi.  “He unites his experience in banking with his academic scholarship to develop original insights and to inform his teaching.  A thoughtful and creative colleague, who excels at everything he does, Professor Baxter is the perfect faculty member to inaugurate the McGuire chair with its emphasis on the important role of practical knowledge and wisdom to the academic understanding of how institutions work.”   

Established in 2011, the McGuire professorship is designated for an academic who also has a distinguished career in practice. McGuire, who died in 2012 at the age of 102, was a 1933 graduate of Duke Law School and the president of Duke Power Company from 1959 to 1971.  He served as a trustee of The Duke Endowment and as a director of Duke Power Company, the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Board, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Research Triangle Foundation among other leadership positions for corporate and nonprofit institutions.  A devoted Duke alumnus, he also served in multiple leadership positions at Duke Law School and Duke University. 

“It is a great honor to receive this professorship,” said Baxter.  “William McGuire was one of a group of legendary North Carolinians who exemplified the very best in corporate leadership:  a willingness to take bold action while always remaining humble and concerned for the welfare of his fellow citizens.  He exemplified the very best a lawyer could offer:  using the skills that come from a legal education to enrich not only law but also business and society in general, a role to which I have tried to aspire.  The intense, analytical legal education Duke provides -- and Dean Levi encourages -- is, in my view, one of the very best ways any student can prepare for leadership in the modern, global world of law, finance, and business.  I believe that Duke Law graduates can make a powerful and positive impact far beyond the practice of law itself and that they should set their sights on the civic leadership Mr. McGuire emulated during his lifetime.”

Purdy receives the Robinson O. Everett Professorship

Purdy, who teaches in the areas of constitutional law, property, and environmental law, is a prolific legal scholar and essayist on the role of public values in economic life, particularly the reform of property regimes. He also writes on environmental issues, constitutional law, and U.S. politics.  He is the author of five books:  For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (1999); Being America: Liberty, Commerce and Violence in an American World (Knopf, 2003); A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom (Knopf, 2009); and The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community and the Legal Imagination (Yale University Press, 2010).   The American Environmental Imagination is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.  He won the Duke Bar Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008.

“Jedediah Purdy is an accomplished and innovative scholar who changes the discussion in each field he chooses to enter,” said Levi.   “His broad range of scholarship draws upon history, philosophy, law, and political science to examine central issues such as the evolution of property rights.  He is one of our most eloquent, elegant, and moving writers on democratic principles and ideals.  He is also a brilliant and inspirational teacher who brings out the very best in students and colleagues.  I know this at first hand, because I have had the high privilege of teaching a course with him and President Brodhead, an experience I will not forget.  As the Everett Professor of Law, Professor Purdy will also teach undergraduates and, like the late Robinson Everett himself, will inspire his students to consider where they make a difference. ”

The Everett Professorship honors the late Professor Robinson O. Everett LLM ’59 who taught at Duke for more than 51 years and inspired thousands of Duke Law students and alumni with his kindness, his service to the law and to the legal profession, and his devotion to Duke Law School.  A former chief judge and senior judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Everett was a leading authority on military law and justice.  The professorship in his name, which was established with support from The Duke Endowment’s Strategic Faculty Initiative, as well as the friends and family of Robinson Everett, is designated to a legal scholar who also engages in undergraduate teaching at Duke.

“Robbie Everett always struck me as having a palpable kindness and joy in life, and both of these qualities came through amply in the ways people remembered him at his memorial service at the Law School a few years ago,” said Purdy.  “He seems to have been a kind of person I admire: someone who was rooted in a place and whose work always revolved around the place ¾ the Law School, but also the larger community of Durham and the Piedmont. 

“The recognition and support of the community, which is part of what a chair means, is a wonderful thing, a really touching thing,” he added.  “This chair [involves] working actively on building bridges between the law school and the undergraduates on the one hand, the law school and the graduate programs on the other.  This is incredibly exciting to me, and it's the kind of honor that has real weight -- the community inviting me to do work that feels really special, worthwhile, and important.”

Richman receives the Edgar P. & Elizabeth C. Bartlett Professorship

Richman’s primary research interests include the economics of contracting, new institutional economics, antitrust, and health care policy. His interdisciplinary work has been published in leading law journals, as well as such publications as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Health Affairs.  In 2006, he co-edited, with Professor Clark Havighurst, a symposium volume of Law and Contemporary Problems entitled "Who Pays? Who Benefits? Distributional Issues in Health Care,” and his book Stateless Commerce will be published by Harvard University Press in 2015.  Richman serves on the faculty of the Health Sector Management Program at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and is a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.  He received the Duke Bar Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010.

“Barak Richman is a wonderfully creative scholar who deftly uses economics and empirical research to illuminate interesting and difficult legal problems,” said Levi.  “His work ranges from a study of dispute resolution among diamond merchants to an empirical exploration of health care disparities to an analysis of the antitrust implications of the ways in which rabbis are selected for Jewish congregations.  He is also a brilliant teacher of contracts, antitrust, and health care law, which are among our most difficult subjects.  He is an invaluable colleague.”

The Edgar P. & Elizabeth C. Bartlett Professorship was established by Duke Law School alumni, faculty, and friends to honor Professor Katharine T. Bartlett’s service as dean of the Law School from 2000 to 2007, as well as her distinguished scholarship.  Named for her parents, the professorship will become the Katharine T. Bartlett Professorship on her retirement from the faculty.  Bartlett is the A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law and a scholar of family law, employment discrimination law, and gender and law.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have the name ‘Bartlett’ attached to the title of this professorship.  Kate was the dean who hired me, mentored me, and exemplified for me much of what it means to be a scholar and a university citizen,” said Richman.  “This is a title I feel I will have to work to grow into.”

Siegel named David W. Ichel Professor of Law

Siegel, who holds a joint appointment in Duke University’s Department of Political Science, serves as co-director of the Program in Public Law and as director of the new D.C. Summer Institute in Law and Policy.  His scholarship examines the constitutional structure of American federalism; the constitutional principles governing claims of racial and sex inequality; and the dialectical relationship between constitutional politics and constitutional law.   His work on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been front and center in the litigation over the Act. 

Siegel, who received his undergraduate degree at Duke, “is particularly well suited to the Ichel professorship, which is directed to a scholar of constitutional law and government who teaches undergraduate as well as law students,” said Levi.  “Professor Siegel is an extraordinarily thoughtful and gifted scholar who has advanced our understanding of the constitutional structure and the contours of federal power. To make such a large impact in this field at so early a point in his career is quite an achievement.  He is also a dedicated teacher and wonderfully helpful colleague.  How fitting that a scholar and person of Professor Siegel’s caliber and character should be the first occupant of the Ichel chair funded by our wonderful Board of Visitors chair, David Ichel.”

The professorship was established in 2010 by Ichel ’78 and his wife, Jan; the couple’s gift was matched by funds from The Duke Endowment’s Strategic Faculty Initiative.   Ichel, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York whose practice focuses on a wide range of complex commercial litigation, also received his undergraduate degree at Duke.

“I would be honored to receive any chair, but this one is special to me,” said Siegel.  “David Ichel is a great lawyer and a true friend of Duke Law School.  We both went to Duke for college, and we both majored in political science here.  

“In my student days, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  It was the best of times in part because the men's basketball team was in the national championship game four times in five years and won it twice.  It was the worst of times because I wanted to take classes taught by the likes of William Van Alstyne but I had no access to the law faculty.  I am thrilled that the Ichel chair will enable me to teach undergraduates in addition to law students on a regular basis.”

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