The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

Main menu:

November 9, 2009

Professor Jane Stapleton receives rare honor with election to Gray's Inn as "Honorary Bencher"

Photo of Professor Jane Stapleton
Professor Jane Stapleton

Jane Stapleton, the Ernest E. Smith Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law, has been elected as an Honorary Master of the Bench (“Honorary Bencher”) of the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn.

Gray’s Inn is one of the four ancient Inns of Court in London. To practice as a barrister in England and Wales, a lawyer must be called to the bar by one of these Inns. Non-members, such as distinguished judges and lawyers from other countries, may be elected by the Inn as honorary benchers but this is a rare honor given to only a few.

The society announced the election of only three non-members on October 14, 2009. They are Professor Stapleton; Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

There are only six other Honorary Benchers from the United States. They are former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; President Emeritus of Harvard University Derek Bok;  President Emeritus of Yale University Benno C. Schmidt Jr.; and Stephen M. Schwebel, former president of the International Court of Justice.

About Jane Stapleton:

In addition to her appointment at UT School of Law, Jane Stapleton is a professor at the Australian National University College of Law and a statutory visiting professor and member of the law faculty at Oxford University.

In 2004 she was elected to the Council of the American Law Institute, the first foreigner to be honored in this way. She has published widely and her work has been frequently cited with approval in academic publications, Reports of Law Commissions and by appellate courts in the major common law jurisdictions including the United States Supreme Court.

Related links:

Jane Stapleton

The four Inns of Court

Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or