We at Mizzou Law are excited to welcome Thomas B. Bennett who will be joining our faculty in fall 2020 to teach civil procedure and constitutional law! Professor Bennett is currently a Furman Academic Fellow at NYU Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2012. He has also served as a law clerk in both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in addition to working nearly four years as an associate with Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, PLLC in Washington D.C.
What does this position mean for you?
I’m absolutely thrilled to teach law at Mizzou. I gain a great deal of excitement and satisfaction from analyzing complicated legal issues. That’s especially true when I’m sharing ideas with others. I look forward to passing that excitement on to my students.
How will your class help students?
I’ll be teaching civil procedure and constitutional law, which are longstanding cornerstones of the law school curriculum. In everything that lawyers do, from the bar exam to practice to understanding current events, these topics are essential. I look forward to making them accessible, clear, and interesting.
What does it mean for Mizzou Law?
Mizzou Law has a first-rate faculty that sports nationally recognized scholars up and down the roster. I hope to supplement that expertise with enthusiasm, energy, and my perspective, which was shaped by my years in private practice and judicial clerkships.
How do your background and experience help you in this role?
I approach complicated and theoretical questions of procedure, jurisdiction, and constitutional rules from the perspective of practice. In the pressure of complex litigation, legal rules are recast in the light of one question: “How do we win?” It’s that perspective that can illuminate old debates and suggest new questions for the future.
My experience has also taught me the critical importance of clear communication. Sophisticated ideas aren’t worth much if they can’t be explained simply. Clever arguments won’t win a case unless they can be broken down into digestible parts. I think the same holds true in the classroom, where the most effective teachers combine the depth of material with clarity.
What do you want to accomplish in this position?
Research and teaching are pursuits worthy of a lifetime of dedication. When it’s over, I hope to have earned a reputation as a perceptive scholar and an effective teacher and mentor.
Why are you excited about this new role?
Everyone I’ve met at Mizzou has been not only smart and thoughtful but also warm and welcoming. I can’t think of a better type of community to join as a junior scholar than that.
What does success in this new role look like?
I hold myself to personal standards of success, but the most visible standards are those of my students and colleagues. I look forward to exceeding those standards in my teaching and research.