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May 14, 2014

Professor Richard Leo, who has spent the 2013-2014 academic year as a visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law, will return to the USF School of Law as the inaugural holder of the Hamill Family Chair. 

As the Hamill Family Chair and Professor of Law and Social Psychology, Leo will continue to teach such courses as Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure while pursuing his influential scholarly work in the areas of false confessions and wrongful convictions. The Hamill Family Chair is made possible by a gift from Stephen Hamill ’78 and his family. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be chosen as the inaugural holder of the Hamill Family Chair and look forward to returning to USF in the fall,” Leo said. “I am deeply thankful to the Hamill family for their generosity in endowing the chair, and for their continued support of USF. I am also grateful to have such committed and caring colleagues at USF, many of whom have been role models to me; and I remain grateful to the many law students who I have been privileged to teach and learn from in my years at USF. The USF School of Law is an exceptional institution that continues to produce first-rate legal professionals, and I am privileged to be a part of it.” 

Hamill has been one of the law school’s most ardent supporters, enhancing students’ skills training activities through diverse clinics and faculty opportunities. The Hamill family endowed this chair to “support and enhance an extraordinary faculty, to ensure a high quality legal education, and to provide future opportunities and possibilities for others,” Hamill said. 

“Richard Leo embodies the vision we had in establishing the Hamill Family Chair,” Hamill said. “He is a renowned and respected legal scholar. His prolific writing and publication, his numerous awards for his writing, teaching, and professional work, including Soros and Guggenheim fellowships, make him the ideal choice.” 

Leo will be on sabbatical for the 2014-2015 academic year while serving as a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. This coveted fellowship is the latest in a string of honors he has received, including, most recently, the Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. 

“Richard is one of the most respected and influential scholars on our faculty,” Dean John Trasviña said. “His extensive writing on false confessions and wrongful convictions is valued by both scholars and policymakers.”