LSU has granted the Professor Emeritus title to three longtime and recently retired LSU Law professors in honor of their distinguished careers and service to the Paul M. Hebert Law Center: William E. “Bill” Crawford (posthumous), Paul Baier, and Wendell Holmes.
“Professors Crawford, Baier, and Holmes are icons at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center who, during their combined 134 years of service to LSU Law, made tremendous contributions to our school and helped countless students master difficult topics and achieve their professional goals,” said LSU Law Interim Dean Lee Ann Wheelis Lockridge. “They are all already missed, each in his own way.”
Professor Crawford taught his final class at LSU Law on Nov. 20, 2019 and retired in January 2020 as the longest-serving LSU faculty member in the university’s history. Along with teaching at LSU Law for 53 years, Professor Crawford was also an alumnus of LSU (1951) and LSU Law (1955), where he was editor-in-chief of Louisiana Law Review. He passed away on Jan. 2, 2021 at the age of 93. During his more than five decades at LSU Law, Professor Crawford taught Torts, Louisiana Civil Procedure, Products Liability, Security Devices, and Legal Ethics, and he also spent six summers teaching in Greece with the Tulane summer law program.
Professor Crawford began his tenure at LSU Law in 1966 as assistant dean, became an associate professor in 1969, professor in 1971, and was awarded the James J. Bailey Professorship in Law in 1985. He also served as director of the Louisiana State Law Institute from 1978 to 2018, a 40-year period in which the institute rendered extraordinary service to the Louisiana Legislature and the public. Professor Crawford lectured regularly as part of the Continuing Legal Education programs of LSU Law since 1971, and he was the principal expert witness for the governor’s program of tort revision in the 1996 legislative session. In the past, he also served as special master to the U.S. District Court in bankruptcy litigation. In 2003, Professor Crawford’s students honored him as Distinguished Professor of the Year, and the Louisiana Bar Foundation also bestowed him with the same honor that year. In 2020, he was honored by LSU Law as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
Professor Crawford’s publications include the translation of the “New Code of Civil Procedure in France, Book I” (1978), a special edition of the “Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure” (1983), a revision of the three-volume “Formulary” as part of “West’s LSA Civil Procedure, Vols. 10, 11, and 12,” and “Louisiana Civil Law Treatise, Tort Law” (2000). The LSU Law Library and Westlaw list 16 books or chapters that Professor Crawford authored, along with 25 articles in various legal publications. Westlaw also credits him with 155 citations as a non-law review secondary source.
LSU will posthumously confer the Professor Emeritus title upon Professor Crawford retroactively, effective Jan. 2, 2020.
Professor Baier taught his final class on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 and retired in January 2020 after 47 years at LSU Law, during which he established himself as an expert in constitutional law, civil rights litigation, and appellate advocacy, serving as Special Assistant State Attorney General in several U.S. Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit cases, including the Louisiana higher education desegregation case. Along with teaching Constitutional Law I and II, Constitutional Law Seminar, Advanced Appellate Advocacy Seminar, the Constitution and American Civilization, and the Law Review Seminar at LSU Law, he also taught courses at the LSU Honors College with Professor James D. Hardy, Jr. as well as summer programs with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Aix-en-Provence, France, Berlin, Germany) and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Siena, Italy).
Professor Baier earned his A.B. from the University of Cincinnati in 1966, graduating summa cum laude in Economics, and he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1969. He joined the LSU Law faculty in 1972 after teaching at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Since 2007, he has served as Secretary of the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society. In 2004, the Louisiana Bar Foundation named Professor Baier its Distinguished Professor, and in 2008 the Tiger Athletic Foundation honored him with its prestigious TAF Undergraduate Teaching Award for his teaching in the LSU Honors College. He was also voted Law Professor of the Year by the LSU Law senior class of 2010.
In early 2020, he published the capstone of his impressive career in scholarship, “Written in Water: An Experiment in Legal Biography,” a biography of Colonel Frederick Bernays Wiener. Professor Baier’s publications include “What Is the Use of a Law Book Without Pictures or Conversations” (1984), and The Diamond Anniversary Sixth Edition of “The Pocket Constitutionalist,” with a foreword by his former student and Louisiana Supreme Court Justice John L. Weimer (2010). He is also the editor of memoirs of Justice Hugo Black, “Mr. Justice and Mrs. Black” (1986), and of “Lions Under the Throne: The Edward Douglass White Lectures of Chief Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist” (1995).
LSU will confer the Professor Emeritus title upon Professor Baier retroactively, effective Jan. 15, 2020.
Professor Holmes retired at the end of the Fall 2020 semester after 34 years at LSU Law, where he taught Contracts, Business Associations, Commercial Paper, UCC Sales, UCC Security Devices, and Obligations, among other courses. He taught his final class on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, following a semester of teaching a hybrid mix of in-person and online classes; a semester like none other before it, aside perhaps from the one preceding it. Professor Holmes joined the LSU Law faculty in Fall 1987 after teaching for four years at the University of Mississippi School of Law and serving as a visiting professor at LSU Law during the fall semester in 1986. During his time at LSU Law, Professor Holmes often served in faculty leadership positions, chairing the Promotion & Tenure Committee and other committees on a regular basis.
Professor Holmes earned his law degree in 1977 from Tulane University, where he was managing editor of Tulane Law Review and an Order of the Coif member. Following graduation, he practiced law with Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada in Jackson, Mississippi, for six years. During his time with the firm, he served as partner from 1981 to 1983 and spent several years as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Millsaps College.
Professor Holmes is the co-author of “West’s Louisiana Civil Law Treatise on Business Organizations.” He also published many articles on contracts, agency, business associations, and commercial law, and lectured extensively on these topics in continuing legal education programs. He is a member of the American Law Institute.
LSU will confer the Professor Emeritus title upon Professor Holmes retroactively, effective Jan. 1, 2021.