To honor and continue the legacy of excellence established by their founding partner, George E. Allen, his three sons and partners at the Allen, Allen, Allen and Allen law firm, George E. Allen, Jr., Ashby B. Allen, and Wilbur C. Allen established and contributed the primary funding for the George E. Allen Chair at the University of Richmond Law School in 1982. Many other members of the Allen family and in the Allen Law Firm also contributed to this worthwhile project.
A Chair gives the University the financial backing to attract highly distinguished professors to the faculty as “chair holders.” Many law schools of the highest standing in this country have a large number of such Chairs. At that time, the University of Richmond had no established Chair.
The vision of George E. Allen, Jr., a University of Richmond law graduate, and his brothers Ashby and Wilbur, was to bring professors of national reputation to the University to enhance its development and standing in educating young men and women for legal careers at the highest level.
This has been a grand success. After several years of bringing in multiple visiting professors of distinction, in the early 1990’s Rod Smolla, a nationally recognized constitutional law scholar at William & Mary, was persuaded to accept the first permanent full time position as George E. Allen Chair holder at the University. A few years later, he became Dean of the law school, serving several years, and now serves as the President of Furman University.
In 2010, David Epstein, who has been a wonderful addition to the law school, became the George Allen Professor and Chair holder. He is recognized as one of the top authorities in the country on bankruptcy law and has written a number of the books used in law schools across the country on the subjects of contract law and bankruptcy law. Epstein is charismatic and a popular teacher as well as a mentor among the students at the University of Richmond.
In addition to the work of the Allen Chair Professor, the Chair also benefits the law school in other ways. Each year the law school determines appropriate topics related to an important legal issue for a day long George Allen Chair seminar. Distinguished speakers who are generally from outside the University of Richmond community are asked to prepare papers and make presentations at the seminar. These presentations are in turn published in the annual George E. Allen special edition of the University of Richmond Law Review. Each year a different professor on the faculty selects the topics for the George Allen Chair seminar, and a top student from the Editorial Board of the Law Review is selected as the Allen edition editor.
It has been most gratifying for our family and our Firm to see the University of Richmond Law School continue to grow in stature among the nation’s law schools.
About the Author: Ted Allen is a personal injury attorney in Richmond VA. With a career spanning 30 years, he has helped victims of defective products, car accidents, truck accidents and brain injury in the Richmond area and through out the state of Virginia.