The Center for Civil Law Studies of the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center presents the 23rd John H. Tucker, jr. Lecture in Civil Law
Professor William Hawkland
(Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University)
The Uniform Commercial Code and the Civil Codes
(56 La. L. Rev. 231)
The 23rd Tucker lecturer, Boyd Professor William Hawkland, former chancellor of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center (1979-1989), and an internationally known expert on commercial law, began his career in 1947. It was in that year that he received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota, followed, in 1949, by an L.L.M. from Columbia University. He taught at the Temple University School of Law from 1950-1956, and then, until 1979, at the law schools of Rutgers University, the University of Illinois, and the State University of New York. During that period he worked with Karl Llewellyn, the dean of commercial law, on the preparation of the Uniform Commercial Code, and wrote a number of important books and articles on commercial-law subjects. These included his three widely-used casebooks, Commercial Paper and Bank Deposits and Collections (1966), Debtor-Creditor Relations (1979), and Sales (1980). His writings of that period also included several extremely influential monographs on UCC commercial paper and sales law, and four textbooks on these same subjects, and on the law of banking. In addition, Professor Hawkland published over 50 scholarly articles prior to coming to LSU, and assisted the Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, and New Jersey legislatures in studies culminating in their reception of the UCC.
In 1979, Professor Hawkland became Chancellor of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He did so because he found the opportunity to lead the nation’s first autonomous law center an intriguing one. What he found when he arrived, he said, was a law school that was underrated in its home state and in the nation as a whole, while being well regarded abroad. The Chancellor set out to rectify this imbalance by solidifying the Center’s ties with Europe while strengthening its reputation in Louisiana and the rest of the United States. He began by creating an LSU summer school in Aix-en-Provence, France and an exchange program with the law school of the University of Louvain in Belgium. He also encouraged the faculty to write about Anglo-American law subjects of interest to scholars in our sister states.
Chancellor Hawkland’s greatest contributions to the Law Center occurred closer to home, however. Through his efforts, the Law Center secured from private sources an endowment sufficient to weather the state budget storms of the 1980s relatively unscathed. In addition, he increased the Center’s continuing professional development efforts, giving the school a higher profile in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana, and sought and obtained funds to create endowed chairs for Law Center professors. During his tenure, the bar examination passage rates of graduates of the law school continually increased, in part because of his emphasis on teaching the Louisiana basics. Chancellor Hawkland also sought to enhance the local reputation of the law school by encouraging the faculty to engage in state law-reform efforts. He himself became active in Louisiana legislative reform, via service on the Council and several of the committees of the Louisiana State Law Institute
Professor Hawkland did not neglect scholarly pursuits while serving as chancellor of the law school, nor, despite announcing his retirement from teaching in 1994, has he done so since. During his chancellorship, he kept his casebook on sales up to date and published additional articles in periodicals and other publications. Most importantly, in 1984-1987, he wrote and published a comprehensive thirteen-volume treatise on the Uniform Commercial Code, which he called his “scholarly monument,” and which he continued to update annually. He served during his chancellorship as a member of the Permanent Editorial Board of the UCC and of the American Law Institute. He was also Chairman of the ABA Committee for the Revision of Article 6 of the UCC, a director of the American Arbitration Association, and the Uniform Law Commissioner for the State of Louisiana. Upon leaving the office of Chancellor he was named a Boyd professor, to the acclaim of his colleagues. Professor Hawkland remained active in the work of the Louisiana State Law Institute. In 1992, he led the Institute’s successful effort to adapt to local conditions and to gain passage of a major revision by the national UCC Commissioners of the law governing electronic fund transfers. He also served as Reporter for the Louisiana State Law Institute committee on lease-sales. His career demonstrated how fruitful, in the hands of a committed scholar, cross-fertilizations between the civil and common law worlds can be.