Robin F. Wilson Named to Chaired Professorship

Lexington, VA Friday, November 06, 2009


Prof. Robin F. Wilson
Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been named Class of 1958 Law Alumni Professor of Law.

An award winning teacher and accomplished scholar, Wilson has in recent years been one of the most prominent voices in national and international arenas on issues relating to family law, the protection of children, health care, and the intersection of family law and religion.  Her advocacy has ranged from lobbying for legislation to prohibit unauthorized pelvic exams to arguing for states enacting same-sex marriage laws to take into account religious objectors similar to those adopted following the legalization of abortion.

"Prof. Wilson is an extraordinary example of a 'scholar in action,' bringing her expertise to bear on legal and social policy issues of national and international importance," said W&L Dean Rodney Smolla.  "Prof. Wilson is a credit to the legal profession, to higher education, and to Washington and Lee, and well-deserving of this honor."

A specialist in family law and health law, Prof. Wilson's research and teaching interests also include insurance and biomedical ethics. She has presented her research throughout the U.S. and abroad in China, Norway, Serbia, and Australia among many other countries. She is a frequent commentator in the national media, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

"I am so honored and touched to receive the Class of 1958 Law Alumni chair," said Wilson.  "I cannot imagine receiving a greater compliment than to have the respect of my colleagues, whom I admire for all they have accomplished and done for the law and for our students.  It is a privilege to follow in their footsteps as a teacher and scholar."

Chaired Professorships are awarded to accomplished faculty based on the recommendation of the Dean, after consultation with the other members of the faculty who hold chairs.

Prof. Wilson is the author of numerous law review articles and editor of four volumes: Health Law and Bioethics: Cases in ContextSame-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging ConflictsReconceiving the Family: Critical Reflections on the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution; and the Handbook of Children, Culture & Violence.

In 2007, she earned one of 10 "citizen lawmaker" awards presented by Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle County, for her research that led to a new Virginia state law prohibiting unauthorized pelvic exams by medical students. In 2008, she was named Teacher of the Year by the Women Law Students Organization.  In 2009, she was elected to the American Law Institute, the most prestigious law reform body in the U.S.

Prof. Wilson received her J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Virginia where, at the School of Law, she served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Law Review. Before entering practice, she clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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