On the cusp of retirement, Professor William L. Stauffer, Jr. continues to set an example for his students. Stauffer, Clinical Associate Professor at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, has been recognized by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America for the 12th consecutive year for his work in two categories: (i) commercial litigation and (ii) litigation – banking and finance. Congratulations Professor Stauffer!
For more than thirty years, Best Lawyers has released a yearly list of the Best Lawyers in America. Inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America list is reserved for the top 5% of the nation’s practicing attorneys and is based on a rigorous peer review process. According to the Best Lawyers website, these lawyers represent “the very best lawyers in each practice area and metropolitan region in the country.”
Stauffer graduated from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at William & Mary before practicing law throughout Northern Virginia, Richmond, DC, and Hampton Roads for more than 40 years. During this time, Stauffer held managing partner positions in Tysons, Virginia for local, regional, and national law firms for nearly 25 consecutive years.
Shortly after moving to Williamsburg, Stauffer became an Adjunct Lecturer at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, teaching the undergraduate course “The Legal Environment of Business” to about 60 students. Since he was named Clinical Associate Professor, Stauffer has continued to teach “The Legal Environment of Business” (now to more than 260 students), along with “Critical Legal Issues for Business,” (advanced) Business Law (MAcc) classes, and his self-designed “Ethical Advocacy” course to more than 150 graduate students each year. One of Stauffer’s undergraduate students, Greg Garnhart ’20, noted that despite teaching so many courses, “Professor Stauffer was deeply committed to helping each individual student (some of whom were not even taking his classes) find jobs and summer internships. He always treated his students like the full people they are and it truly made all the difference.”
Since becoming a full-time professor, Stauffer’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. Best Lawyers named Stauffer its 2014 Norfolk Litigation – Banking and Finance “Lawyer of the Year.” Stauffer has been acknowledged by Virginia Super Lawyers and Martindale-Hubbell, and was the recipient of the “Faculty Excellence Award” from the BBA classes of 2015 and 2017. Virginia Business magazine named Stauffer as one of its “Legal Elite” on numerous occasions for his outstanding work in civil litigation, and in 2015, Stauffer was recognized as a “Leader of the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. “Leaders of the Law” set “the standard for other lawyers in Virginia” and are “recognized for changing the law, serving the community, changing practice or improving Virginia’s justice system, among other accomplishments.” The Seven Society also formally recognized Stauffer for “his tremendous commitment and contribution to the College Community” at William & Mary.
This past April, Stauffer delivered his final lecture, “Reflections on the Journey,” in the Great Hall of the historic Wren Building. Students, faculty, and members of the greater Williamsburg community gathered together to hear Stauffer impart the wisdom gained from two successful careers – one practicing law and another serving as a mentor and educator here at William & Mary. “Professor Stauffer taught me the importance of ethics, character, and integrity - not only in business, but in life,” commented one of Stauffer’s former students, Jenna Buchan ’19, “and he definitely made a difference in his student’s lives.”
“No one gets to this point in their professional careers without tremendous support, encouragement and direction from others,” remarked Stauffer. “I’m the first to acknowledge that any relative success I’ve achieved to this point in my life has come from the support and encouragement of family, mentors, clients, students, and friends. I’m especially grateful to have had the opportunity, over the past nine years, to impart some of that experience to my students. I know they will be leaders in their communities and chosen professions. Now, on to the next chapter as I transition to emeritus status!”