LSU Law Professor Paul Baier, George M. Armstrong, Jr. Professor of Law, was voted Professor of the Year by the Law Center Class of 2010. His students characterize Professor Baier as an extraordinary teacher who uses extraordinary teaching methods. The students honored Baier at a reception held Thursday, April 15 at the Law Center and presented him with an inscribed plaque.
Chancellor Jack Weiss introduced Baier and commented, “There is only one Paul Baier and all of you will agree, there will never be another” bringing cheers and applause to the more than 50 students, colleagues, family and friends in attendance.
“Justice E.D. White obviously sought a position on the court so that Paul could one day write a play about him,” joked Weiss.
In accepting this honor, Professor Baier made reference to his life-long commitment to bringing Chief Justice Edward Douglass White’s memory to life in Baier’s play, Father Chief Justice; “I assume you have heard of my play.” Baier is a nationally published playwright, producer, and director of “Father Chief Justice”: Edward Douglass White and the Constitution, which premiered in Thibodaux, March 8, 1997, and has since played at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, Loyola University, the Louisiana Supreme Court, and the Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference, May 2009. One can assume that his students have witnessed his play at least once during their three years at the Law Center.
A thespian all his life, Baier accepted this honor with great gratitude and heartfelt joy. “As for me, I think of what Holmes said when he thanked the editors of the Harvard Law Review for their issue celebrating his 90th birthday. Holmes’s words so very aptly express my own feelings on being knighted “Professor of the Year” by the LSU Law Class of 2010—“I regard the number as one of the great honors of my life and that in spite of all that I know to the disadvantage of the subject, it makes me proud. Thank you one and all.”
3L Scott Sternberg, SBA president, said “Professor Baier is incredibly passionate about his students. The class of 2010 wanted to honor that passion by making him our first elected Professor of the Year. It is quite appropriate that Professor Baier, a man of theatre, addressed the students who have exalted him in this way. He truly is an asset to our school.”
Professor Baier joined the LSU Law faculty 1972. He is nationally known for his use of media in law school teaching, What Is the Use of a Law Book Without Pictures or Conversations (1984). The Diamond Anniversary Sixth Edition of Baier’s The Pocket Constitutionalist, with a Foreword by his former student and Louisiana Supreme Court Justice John L. Weimer, was published by Claitor’s in 2010. Professor Baier is Secretary of the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society. The Louisiana Bar Foundation named Baier its Distinguished Professor 2004. The Tiger Athletic Foundation honored Professor Baier with its prestigious TAF Undergraduate Teaching Award for his teaching in the LSU Honors College in 2008.
Sean Corcoran, a second-year law student, will be eligible to vote next year for the 2011 Professor of the Year: “I am extremely happy that this tradition of annually honoring an extraordinary professor has been revived and will now be continued in the future.”