Board of Trustees Names Professor Spoo the Chapman Chair in Law

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees has approved TU Law Professor Robert Spoo as the next Chapman Distinguished Chair in Law. The position runs for three years and begins January 1, 2012.

"I am pleased and honored to assume the Chapman Chair in Law," Spoo said. "It’s a privilege, and I want to thank the Advisory Committee for recommending me, the TU Board of Trustees for approving this measure, and Dean Janet Levit for her extraordinary support for academic and professional excellence in the Law College."

The Chapman Chair was established in 1984 as part of the College’s commitment to excellence in legal education, and it became a permanent position in 1992. Qualified candidates possess a terminal degree in their field from a highly-regarded program, along with strong scholarly credentials and proven records of publication and public service. The position provides funds for and encourages research.

Spoo recently finalized a contract with Oxford University Press to publish his next book, Modernism and the American Public Domain, in 2012. The book explores the challenges that foreign authors faced in obtaining copyright protection for their works in the United States. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and other famous authors living abroad were often exploited by American pirates because they could not, in that period, sue them for copyright infringement in a U.S. court. The book, which Oxford plans to publish in its Modernist Literature & Culture series, will appeal to copyright scholars, scholars of social and legal history, literature scholars, and crossover readerships.

Spoo is also the author of "Ezra Pound’s Copyright Statute: Perpetual Rights and the Problem of Heirs," 56 UCLA L. Rev. 1775 (August 2009), and of numerous books and articles on literature and law.

Spoo holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University and earned tenure as an English professor at TU before he obtained his law degree from Yale Law School. After practicing law and clerking for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor (prior to her elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court), he returned to TU on the law faculty in 2008. Spoo was promoted to full professor in fall 2011. In the spring of 2011, the University awarded Spoo one of its highest honors – The University of Tulsa Outstanding Teacher Award.

His teaching and scholarly interests include copyrights and intellectual property, law and literature, Constitutional law, and contracts. He is a member of the advisory board of the National Library of Ireland.

The Chapman Chair is currently held by TU Law Professor Judith Royster.

Scott Been