1. Peter Smith (GWU)
2. Aaron Twerski (Brooklyn)
3. Richard Epstein (Chicago/NYU)
4. Catherine Struve (Penn)
5. Tobias Wolff (Penn)
I am pleased to announce that the winner, by a narrow (but decisive) margin, is Peter Smith from GWU. Collectively, we received just under 500 total votes from our readers in the two voting rounds of the Competition. Professor Smith received about 60% of these votes. I spoke with some readers who voted for Professor Smith, and asked them to explain their vote; their answers are reproduced below, unedited. The comments speak for themselves, and demonstrate how revered Professor Smith truly is:
"Peter Smith is, by far, the best professor I've had in law school. A feat accomplished not by ingratiating himself with the students through corny jokes or a "dazzling" presentation style - but by demonstrating, in a warm and human manner, the sheer force of intellect required to parse legal issues. He was both extremely demanding and extremely giving - of his time, his insight, and his support. I consider myself lucky to have had him as a professor."Congratulations, again, to Peter Smith of The George Washington University Law School! The honor is well-deserved, and speaks directly to the skill that is--in my opinion, anyway--the most important asset a law professor can have.
"Peter Smith is without a doubt the best professor I have ever had. Not only is he absolutely brilliant, but he has a way of capturing the class's attention like I have never experienced before. There are many professors who can make criminal law or constitutional law interesting, but Professor Smith is one of those rare breeds that somehow transforms an otherwise boring civil procedure class into an all-time favorite. He is what every law school professor should aspire to be."
"There were times when Prof. Smith's class would end, and I would sit staring at my notes wondering a) how he managed to untangle an extremely difficult doctrine in such a digestible fashion, and b) how the class had flown by so quickly. That was the mystery of Prof Smith - he is neither flashy nor funny, not overly friendly or mean; but he manages to make time fly by forcing you to learn in ways you had never previously done. Even being on call is a unique experience, as he manages to be both terrifying and friendly at the same time - magically able to extract the answer he is looking for no matter what response the student gives. Smith is the quintessential law school professor, who would be able to explain the most complex legal topics to anyone willing to pay even half-attention."