Joshua Fairfield Named Director of the Frances Lewis Law Center

Lexington, VA • Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prof. Joshua Fairfield 
Joshua A.T. Fairfield, associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been named the next director of the Frances Lewis Law Center. He will begin his duties with the Center on July 1, 2009.

An expert in the law and regulation of e-commerce and videogames, Prof. Fairfield joined the School of Law in 2007 as a visiting professor before becoming a member of the permanent faculty last fall. Prof. Fairfield’s research and scholarship explores the law and economics of online contracts and the application of standard economic models to virtual environments.

In addition, Prof. Fairfield is one of the nation’s leading voices in the analysis of virtual worlds, such as the popular Second Life. He has briefed intelligence officials on terrorist activity and law enforcement within virtual worlds and has written on strategies for protecting children online. In October 2008, Fairfield organized and hosted a first-of-its-kind symposium at the School of Law exploring the legal and social challenges of virtual worlds built specifically for children, the fastest growing area of virtual environments. 

“Josh brings boundless energy, creativity, and intellectual rigor to the position,” said Rodney A. Smolla, dean of the School of Law.  “He is a generous and congenial colleague who will be superb in advancing the mission of the Center and encouraging widespread participation in its activities.”

Prof. Fairfield earned his JD magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in 2001. After law school, Professor Fairfield clerked for Judge Danny J. Boggs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, where he litigated cases in commercial law and software/technology law.

Before embarking on his legal career, Fairfield directed the development of the award winning Rosetta Stone Language Library, a leading language teaching software program for educational institutions.

“Washington and Lee and the Frances Lewis Law Center have long been at the forefront of innovative scholarship and legal reform,” said Fairfield.   “Now is an exciting time for this mission, given the great energy for change and reform at W&L.  I am thrilled and deeply honored to be able to play a part in this effort.”

Established in 1978 with a generous gift from Frances and Sydney Lewis, the Law Center's mandate is to support faculty research and scholarship that advances legal reform. The Law Center fulfills this mission by sponsoring scholars-in-residence, supporting the scholarly research of the law school's faculty, and organizing legal symposia that feature national and internationally renowned scholars.

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