Former MP’s son to teach at law school
Bermudian Jay Butler has joined the faculty at the William and Mary Law School as a law scholar and teacher, saying he was inspired by the institution's connections to Bermuda.
Butler, the son of former Progressive Labour Party MP Dale Butler and paediatrician June Hill, joins the school from Columbia Law School where he was the Kellis E. Parker Teaching Fellow.
The school was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1779 to “train leaders for the new nation”.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette, Mr Butler said: “What is particularly interesting to me is when I was considering accepting the offer I found out that St George's Tucker — the second professor at the law school — was actually a Bermudian. Born in Bermuda to the Tucker family, he moved to Virginia in the 18th century and became quite prominent in junior and constitutional drafting period in the US. He was very well respected and that was certainly an attraction.
“Also, given the historical ties between Bermuda and Williamsburg it seemed like a natural fit.”
Speaking of his new role, he added: “It's a fantastic opportunity. William and Mary is the oldest law school in the US and it has a very well-respected faculty well known for scholarship and being on the cutting edge of legal research and law teaching. It is a tremendous opportunity I was thrilled to received the offer and to be able to accept.
“I am teaching seminars on private international law and the next semester I will be teaching contracts and then international business transactions.”
The law school dean Davison M. Douglas wrote on the school's website: “We are delighted to have Jay join us. He is an ambitious scholar whose work promises to have significant impact. Jay will also bring great energy to the classroom. He is a superb addition to our ranks.”
Mr Butler previously taught at Yale Law School and the George Washington University Law School and his article, Responsibility for Regime Change, was published in the Columbia Law Review.
Before embarking on his academic career, he clerked for Judge Giorgio Gaja and Judge Hisashi Owada of the International Court of Justice and served as a legal adviser to the Government of Japan.
Mr Butler was born to a family that has been active in social justice advocacy and politics. Butler said he chose to pursue law “to address current problems.”
He studied at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales before enrolling at Harvard University. At Harvard he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude with highest honours in history.
In his senior year he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he returned to the United Kingdom to study at Oxford University, where he earned a BA in Jurisprudence. He then earned his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law.
As an undergraduate he studied post-emancipation societies transitioning out of slavery in the 19th century.
“This in turn led me to think more deeply about regime change, post-conflict transitions and the role of law in mediating such difficult periods,” he said.