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January 3, 2006

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law,, (512) 471-7330.

Celebration: The Work of Douglas Laycock at UT Law

Photo of Professors Levinson and Laycock
Professors Sanford Levinson and Douglas Laycock (l-r).
Photo Credit: Wyatt McSpadden

AUSTIN, Texas — During Professor Douglas Laycock’s twenty-five year career at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, he participated in the shaping of religious freedom in the U.S.; led the nation with his work on the law of remedies; litigated affirmative action challenges on behalf of the University; chaired UT’s Task Force on Assembly and Expression; and advised numerous colleagues on their research as the Associate Dean for Research. He also answered hundreds of students’ questions for The Daily Texan, the UT-Austin student newspaper. In September, President Larry Faulkner awarded Professor Laycock UT-Austin's “Civitatis Award,” to honor "dedicated and meritorious service to the University above and beyond the regular expectations of teaching, research, and writing."

Today Professor Laycock announced that he will resign or retire from the Law School effective August 31, leaving his positions as Associate Dean for Research and as the Alice McKean Young Regents Chair in Law.

He will join his wife, Dr. Teresa Sullivan, at the University of Michigan where she will become Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs effective June 1. Professor Laycock will join the University of Michigan’s law school faculty beginning in the 2006-07 academic year.

"I have had a wonderful twenty-five years at Texas," Laycock said, "and but for the call of an even deeper commitment, I would never leave this place. This is a great law school, it has been making very strong faculty appointments at both the junior and senior levels, and it will continue to be a great law school long after I am gone. Of course Michigan's law school is an excellent place to land if one is forced to leave, but leaving Texas is very hard."

“Doug has been a beloved and esteemed member of our faculty—a consummate scholar and a remarkable colleague and teacher,” said Interim Dean Steven Goode. “The University of Michigan has hit the jackpot: Terry will be a great provost and Doug will add luster to an already distinguished law faculty. We wish them both the very, very best.”

"Doug has been a wonderful colleague in all senses of the term," said Professor Scot Powe. "He was always available as a sounding board and with sage advice about scholarship."

"Doug will be sorely missed for many reasons," said Professor Sanford Levinson. "One is his providing a consistent model of the highest professional excellence. There is literally no one in the country with a better lawyerly understanding of the issues to which he has devoted his career, from the meaning of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the seeming arcana of what remedies follow from the finding of legal liability for something--and, as every practicing lawyer knows, that is really the most important single question in the law. But equally important is the passion that he has exhibited with regard to these issues. Law is not an abstract mindgame for Doug. He is always aware of the human beings behind the cases, as well as the consequences of legal doctrine for enabling us as a country to fulfill our highest goals. Finally, of course, he has been a magnificent colleague, in every way. There was a reason that he was chosen as our Dean for Research; he has taught many young (and not so young) professors how to write and think more clearly. The only consolation of his leaving is the knowledge that he is in no way rejecting us, but, rather, displaying yet once more his equally admirable, and steadfast, commitment to family values. Michigan is very, very lucky."

About Professor Laycock

Professor Laycock is one of the nation's leading authorities on the law of remedies and also on the law of religious liberty. He testifies frequently before Congress about issues of religious liberty, and has argued many cases in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is author of the leading casebook Modern American Remedies: Cases and Materials (Aspen, 3d ed. 2002); the award-winning monograph, The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule (Oxford, 1991); and many articles in Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Supreme Court Review, and elsewhere. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan Law School and is also a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Related Links:
About Professor Laycock:
About Dr. Teresa Sullivan: