Washburn Law Announces Endowed Chairs and Professorships
Washburn University School of Law has awarded endowed chairs and professorships to five law professors. The endowments honor the professors for their contributions to the school and their field. The positions provide them with extra resources to pursue their work. For example, the funding allows them to hire research assistants, travel to conferences or invite speakers to the law school.
William Rich has been named the James R. Ahrens Chair in Torts and Constitutional Law. The James R. Ahrens Chair was endowed by the law firm of Michaud, Cordry, Michaud, Hutton and Hutton, named in honor of former Washburn Law professor James R. Ahrens.
Rich teaches Constitutional Law, Constitutional Litigation, Civil Liberties, and Jurisprudence. He received a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1975. Prior to joining the Washburn Law faculty, he was a law clerk for Chief Justice Donald Wright of the California Supreme Court and he served as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Wichita. He served as associate dean of Washburn University School of Law for five years and was acting dean in the fall of 1985 and interim dean during the 2006-2007 academic year. For several years he worked with Washburn Law Clinic students representing inmates in constitutional challenges to Kansas prison conditions. Rich's publications address a wide range of constitutional law topics, including federalism, sovereign immunity, prison conditions and race relations. He also authored the three volume treatise, Modern Constitutional Law (3rd Edition), published in 2011.
David E. Pierce has been named the Norman R. Pozez Chair in Business and Transactional Law. The Pozez Chair was endowed by Norman R. Pozez, who graduated from Washburn Law in 1980, and is awarded to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school primarily in the areas of teaching and who is a traditional academic and/or an individual with prominence in the chosen field of study, with preference given to a professor in the area of Business and Transactional Law.
Pierce received a law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1977 and a master of laws from University of Utah College of Law in 1982. He began his legal career as a solo general practitioner in Neodesha, Kan., and worked as city attorney for Cherryvale, Kansas. He subsequently worked in-house for Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas, and as of-counsel for Gable & Gotwals law firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and for the Shughart Thomson & Kilroy law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. Pierce teaches Oil and Gas Law, Advanced Oil and Gas Law, Energy Regulation, and Drafting Contracts and Conveyances. He has also taught the core courses in Contracts, Business Associations, and Environmental Law. Pierce is the author of the Kansas Oil and Gas Handbook, a co-author of the West casebook Cases and Materials on Oil and Gas Law, and the West treatise Hemingway Oil and Gas Law and Taxation. He is a co-editor and upkeep author of the multi-volume treatise Kuntz, A Treatise on Oil and Gas Law and co-editor of the Oil and Gas Reporter. He is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and a member of the American Law Institute. During the current academic year, he has received the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association, and the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.
Linda Henry Elrod has been reaffirmed as the Richard S. Righter Distinguished Professor of Law. The professorship was created by a gift from the Richard S. Righter Trust. Righter graduated from Washburn University in 1916 and was admitted to Washburn Law. He left law school after one year to volunteer his services during World War I. He completed his bachelor of laws degree at Harvard in 1921. He became a partner in the Kansas City law firm of Lathrop, Crane, Sawyer, Woodson & Righter, which evolved into Lathrop, Woodson, Righter, Blackwell & Parker. Today, the firm is Lathrop & Gage. Righter practiced law up to age 80. The Righter Professorship is awarded to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school primarily in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.
Elrod graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1972. She is the director of the Children and Family Law Center. She served as a Fulbright senior specialist at Dublin Institute of Technology in 2011. Elrod teaches Family Law, Children in the Law, and Divorce Practice. She is past chair of the American Bar Association Family Law Section; served as co-chair of the ABA Child Custody and Adoption Pro Bono Advisory Board; and has been editor of the American Bar Association Family Law Quarterly since 1992. Elrod is the author of a national family law treatise, Child Custody Practice and Procedure; a state family law treatise, Kansas Family Law and Practice; and co-author of a family law textbook that has been used in 35 law schools. Elrod has written dozens of articles and is a frequent continuing legal education speaker.
James M. Concannon was named the Senator Robert J. Dole Distinguished Professor of Law. The Dole Professorship is an endowed fund established by a gift from Senator Robert J. Dole, who graduated from Washburn Law in 1952. Senator Dole is clearly one of the most well-known and distinguished graduates of Washburn Law. The Professorship is awarded to a faculty member considered to be an excellent teacher, who may be a traditional academic or an individual with prominence in the field of law Professor Concannon has achieved both.
After receiving a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law, Concannon served as a law clerk in the Office of the Kansas Attorney General and the Office of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner and as a research attorney for Justice Alex Fromme of the Kansas Supreme Court. He joined the Washburn Law faculty in 1972. Concannon served as dean of Washburn University School of Law from 1988-2001. He is licensed to practice in state courts in Kansas, the U.S. District Court for Kansas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States. He teaches Appellate Practice, Civil Procedure, and Evidence. He was a senior contributing editor of Evidence in America: The Federal Rules in the States and serves on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Amy Deen Westbrook has been named the Kurt M. Sager Memorial Distinguished Professor of International and Commercial Law. The Kurt M. Sager Memorial Professorship was established by Stan, '57, and Shirley Sager in memory of their son Kurt Sager, '76, who died in 1998 at the age of 44. It is awarded to a faculty member considered to be an excellent teacher, who may be a traditional academic or an individual with prominence in the field of law, with preference given to a professor in the area of International or Commercial Law.
Westbrook's teaching and research focus on financial, international, and transactional subjects. She received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992. She has worked for the Commission of the European Communities in Brussels, Belgium, and as an associate at Cleary, Gottleib, Steen & Hamilton in Washington, D.C. In her previous position at the University at Buffalo Law School, Westbrook taught courses on international finance, securities regulation, international trade, the North American Free Trade Agreement, acquisition transactions, and transactional practice. She also served as the director of the University of Buffalo New York City Program in International Finance and Law. She teaches Business Associations, Financial Institution Regulation, International Business Transactions, and Securities Regulation. Westbrook is the director of the Business and Transactional Law Center at Washburn Law.