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January 26, 2010

The Tarlton Law Library's sixth annual rare book lecture features Harvard Law School Professor Charles Donahue Jr. on "What Was It Like to be a Lawyer in Fourteenth-century England?"

The Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law will present its sixth annual rare book lecture, “What Was It Like To Be a Lawyer in Fourteenth-Century England?” on Thursday, February 11, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. The talk features Charles Donahue Jr., the Paul A. Freund Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

In his talk, Donahue will explore the lives of some prominent lawyers, both common and canon, in fourteenth-century England, and discuss the differences between the types of legal professions at the time. Based on a study of some of the leading lawyers in the Court of Arches, Donahue will demonstrate how “common lawyers” ultimately ended up at the top of the profession.

Donahue’s professional interests include ancient, medieval, and early modern legal history (England and continental Europe); modern property law; and modern comparative law. His scholarship is abundant and wide-ranging. His most recent monograph is Law, Marriage, and Society in the Later Middle Ages: Arguments about Marriage in Five Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2007) which examines marriage litigation in the ecclesiastical courts of England and the “Franco-Belgian” region in the later Middle Ages.

Donahue began his teaching career at the University of Michigan Law School in 1968. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1980. He has also held visiting appointments at Boston College School of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Columbia Law School, and Cornell University School of Law, as well as at the London School of Economics and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. At Harvard, Donahue serves on the Committee on Medieval Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and on the University Committee on Religion. He is a past president of the American Society for Legal History and a life member of the American Law Institute and the Medieval Academy of America. Donahue recently accepted an honorary doctorate from the Université de Paris II: Panthéon-Assas.

For more information on Donahue please see his online biography. His lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Law School’s Sheffield Room (TNH 2.111). A reception will follow.


Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch, Rare Books Librarian and Archivist at the Tarlton Law Library, 512-232-3802,

Professor Scot Powe, UT School of Law, 512-232-1345,