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Law Faculty Recognized with Lewis Prize for Excellence in Scholarship Professors Joshua Fairfield and Kish Parella were recognized for their outstanding scholarly work.

Each year, the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee awards two faculty members with the Lewis Prize for Excellence in Legal Scholarship for outstanding scholarly work. In December 2022, law professors Joshua Fairfield and Kish Parella were recognized for their efforts.

Fairfield’s award recognizes his extensive contributions to law and technology, including digital property, electronic contracts, data privacy and surveillance, artificial intelligence, and virtual communities. He has written two books on law, technology, and property published by Cambridge University Press:  “Owned:  Property, Privacy, and the New Digital Serfdom” (2017) and “Runaway Technology: Can Law Keep Up?”(2021), with a third book on the way. Fairfield has also published recent articles in Indiana Law Review (“Tokenized: The Law of Non-Fungible Tokens and Unique Digital Property”), the Osgood Hall Law Journal (“‘You Keep Using That Word’: Why Privacy Doesn’t Mean What Lawyers Think”), the UCLA Journal of Law and Technology (“Governing the Interface Between Nature and Formal Language in Smart Contracts,” with Niloufer Selvadurai), and Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics (“Property as the Law of Virtual Things”), as well as book chapters on pandemic surveillance and law, natural language, and artificial intelligence.

This past summer, Fairfield authored a new article that is forthcoming in the William and Mary Law Review entitled “Making Virtual Things.” In this piece, Fairfield contrasts the emergence of markets for NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and unique digital property with the lack of support for their legal framework, noting that purchasers of NFTs are often surprised to learn that they do not own what they have purchased.

Parella’s award recognizes her continuing scholarly work at the intersections of transnational law, contracts, business, governance, and ethics, including transnational regulation of corporate conduct, corporate human rights compliance in global supply chains, and corporate reputational issues. Her previous scholarship has appeared in numerous leading law reviews and journals, including the Cornell Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Boston University Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, and Washington Law Review, and three of her recent papers  (“Reputational Regulation,” “Public Relations Litigation,” and “Improving Social Compliance in Supply Chains,”) were selected for presentation at the prestigious Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum in consecutive years.

This past summer, Parella authored a new article, “Corporate Self-Sanctions,” which critically evaluates the reaction of many corporations to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by voluntarily postponing new investments or projects in Russia, closing their stores, suspending operations, and even exiting Russia altogether, even when a government did not require them to do so. Parella was selected as an International Research Fellow at the Oxford Center for Corporate Reputation this fall, and she also recently joined the board of the Corporate Accountability Lab.

The Frances Lewis Law Center is the independently funded faculty research and support arm of W&L Law. Established in 1978 with a generous gift from Frances and Sydney Lewis, the Law Center’s mandate is to support faculty research and scholarship that advances legal reform. The Center is directed by Professor Chris Seaman.

If you know a W&L faculty member who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.