Faculty Awards (2009-2010)

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The Byrd Award

This award is named for Robert G. Byrd, a UNC law alumnus who served on faculty from 1963-2004 and was dean from 1974-1979. Byrd was the Burton Craige Professor of Law, a contributor to the North Carolina General Statutes Commission, a leading expert on torts and a master teacher. The Byrd Award is conferred upon a teacher whose courses are principally in the 1L curriculum, who teaches small classes or clinics or who employs a vigorous and creative classroom approach.

John Conley
William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Law

John Conley is an expert in civil litigation, law and social science, and e-commerce and technology issues. He is a master of the Socratic method known for his effective use of humor to create a comfortable and relaxed classroom learning environment. He is an expert is law and genomics. As a student, he was editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal and was elected to The Order of the Coif. He practiced law in Boston and in Charlotte, N.C., for six years, specializing in civil litigation. He also served as an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School.

The Chadbourn Award

This award is named for James H. Chadbourn, editor-in-chief of the North Carolina Law Review from 1930-1931 and a member of the UNC law faculty from 1931-1936. In 1933, while at UNC, he authored a controversial work titled "Lynching and the Law." This award recognizes a faculty member for publication of an academic journal article that shows great scholarly achievement, creativity and insight, and/or the promise of critical impact.

Saule T. Omarova
Assistant Professor of Law
"The Quiet Metamorphosis: How Derivatives Changed the 'Business of Banking,'" University of Miami Law Review, Vol. 63.

Saule Omarova's article focuses on our nation's wounded financial industry, and tells the troubling and fascinating story of how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (also known as the OCC), charged with regulating federally chartered banks in the United States, helped cause the recent financial crisis by issuing a series of administrative letter rulings that drastically expanded the legal definition of the "business of banking." Her research into the progressive dilution of legal strictures on U.S. banks and their consequent engagement in riskier and ultimately ruinous financial transactions is a valuable cautionary tale about how a vaguely worded statute and an overly-enthusiastic administrative agency can profoundly alter the regulatory structure of an entire vital industry.

The Van Hecke-Wettach Award

This new award is named for Maurice Van Hecke and Robert Wettach. Van Hecke was a professor of law at UNC from 1928-1963, founder of the North Carolina Law Review and dean from 1931-1941. He was a Kenan Professor of Law and received the first Thomas Jefferson Award bestowed by the university. In 1956, he was president of the Association of American Law Schools. Wettach was a professor of law at UNC from 1921-1949 and dean from 1941-1949. He was chair of the UNC Faculty Council and chair of the board of the UNC Press. The award is conferred in the spring semester of alternating years, and it is awarded for scholarly accomplishment, creativity and/or national significance, with preference for a book or substantial monograph.

Michael J. Gerhardt
Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Law and GovernmentMichael Gerhardt is the first recipient of the Van Hecke-Wettach Award, for his book The Power of Precedent (Oxford University Press, 2008), which outlines the major issues in the continuing debates on the significance of judicial precedent and evenly considers all sides. Gerhardt's extensive exploration of precedent leads him to formulate a more expansive definition of it, one that encompasses not only the prior constitutional decisions of courts but also the constitutional judgments of other public authorities. He has consulted with members of the U.S. Congress on a number of judicial issues, including the federal impeachment process held in conjunction with its consideration of the impeachment of President Clinton. In 2003 and 2005, he defended the constitutionality of the filibuster; and he testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to several proposed court-stripping measures. He also served as a special consultant to the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal, to the Presidential Transition in 1992-93, to the White House on the nomination of Stephen Breyer to the United States Supreme Court and to the ethics committees of two hospital. In 2006, he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr., as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. In 2009, he served as Special Counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the Senate Judiciary Committee for the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2009, he testified before the House Judiciary Committee as one of three experts on the question of whether a federal judge may be impeached for misconduct committed prior to becoming a federal judge.

The Outstanding Service Award

This award is conferred on the basis of public service performed within the previous two years, measured by the time, effort and creativity devoted, as well as the significance of its impact on the community served.

Lissa Lamkin Broome
Wachovia Professor of Banking Law and Director of the Center for Banking and Finance

In addition to serving as director as the Center for Banking and Finance and faculty advisor to the North Carolina Banking Institute Journal, Professor Broome is extraordinarily active in the university community, and has served on numerous committees, from the Provost Selection Committee to Athletics. She also heads the school's Director Diversity Initiative, which works to increase gender, racial and ethnic diversity on the boards of directors of publicly traded corporations in North Carolina and throughout the United States, and recently coordinated a conference on board diversity. This year, she led the school's Academic Affairs Committee through a challenging year with her usual efficiency and aplomb, while maintaining the highest standards in teaching and scholarship.

The McCall Teaching Award for Excellence

The McCall Award has been given since 1967. It is named for Frederick B. McCall, who was on the faculty for more than 40 years and was a scholar of property and estates law, a contributor to the North Carolina General Statutes Commission and a celebrated teacher. The award was established by students. Members of the third-year class present this award each year, and the recipient has the opportunity to speak at commencement.

Eric L. Muller
Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in Jurisprudence and Ethics and Associate Dean for Faculty Development

Since joining the UNC faculty in 1998, Professor Muller has taught Constitutional and Criminal Law. The class of 2010 selected him for this honor because of his intellectually challenging and personally engaging style of teaching.

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