Skip to main content

About Thomas J. McSweeney

Thomas McSweeney earned his B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where he was a James Monroe Scholar, and continued his studies at Cornell University, where he earned a J.D./LL.M. as part of Cornell's program in international and comparative law and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history. After completing his Ph.D., Professor McSweeney worked for two years as a visiting assistant professor at Cornell Law School, teaching property and legal history. During his time at Cornell, he won three awards for his teaching and was awarded research grants to work at the Huntington Library, the British Library, and the British National Archives. In 2015, he was selected as a fellow of the American Society for Legal History’s Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History. In 2018, he received a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence from the College of William & Mary. In 2019, the graduating class at William & Mary Law School presented him with the Walter Williams L. Teaching Award.
Professor McSweeney's research focuses on the early history of the common law. He is particularly interested in the ways the judges and lawyers of the thirteenth century taught and learned the law. His book, Priest of the Law: Roman Law and the Making of the Common Law's First Professionals, at Oxford University Press, examines the ways in which thirteenth-century justices modelled their practices on those of the jurists of Roman law working in the universities. They assimilated the texts they produced in the English royal courts to genres of legal literature they had encountered in the schools of Roman and canon law in order to make the case that the English common law was part of a pan-European legal culture. He is currently working on a project on the texts that England’s earliest generations of lawyers used to learn the law.

Positions

Present Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School
to


Research Interests


$
to
Enter a valid date range.

to
Enter a valid date range.

Education

to
Ph.D., Cornell University
to
M.A., Cornell University
to
J.D., Cornell University ‐ Cornell Law School
to
B.A., William & Mary
to
LL.M., Cornell University ‐ Cornell Law School
to


Articles (6)

Book Contributions (3)

Book Reviews (1)

Books Authored (1)

Presentations (1)