Prof. Robert Danforth
"Professor Danforth is an accomplished and dedicated legal educator, with enormous dedication to Washington and Lee," said Dean Smolla. "We are fortunate that he has graciously agreed to accept this leadership role."
Added Smolla, "Professor Danforth and I have expressed our joint commitment to being accessible, open, consultative, transparent, and collegial in our interactions with our school's faculty, staff, students, alumni, and many friends and supporters. He and I will work together to ensure that the Dean's Office carries forward the best of Washington and Lee's proud traditions of fostering ethical integrity, civility, respect for the dignity of others, and community.
An expert in trusts and estates, estate planning, and taxation, Professor Danforth served as a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law before joining Washington and Lee as an Assistant Professor of Law in 1997. He was granted tenure in 2002 and named full Professor in 2006. He recently chaired the search committee to fill the position of University Provost.
"I could not be more excited about joining Rod Smolla as he commences his deanship at Washington and Lee," said Danforth. "Our law school is blessed with a superb and dedicated administrative team, with whom I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work. The law school has all the ingredients — bright, hard working students, talented and energetic faculty, and a first-rate group of administrators — for a very bright future.
Professor Danforth earned his J.D. with High Honors in 1986 from Duke University. He then served as a judicial clerk for the Hon. Stephanie K. Seymour of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He entered academia after practicing law for ten years, first at Arnold & Porter and then McGuire Woods.
Prof. Danforth is married to Lee-Anne Swanson. They have three children, Dinah, 19 (a rising Washington and Lee sophomore), Emmy, 15, and Robbie, 4.