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New Book Names Hillinger One of the Best Law Teachers in America

2013 news archive


Newton, MA--A new book names Professor Ingrid Hillinger of Boston College Law School as one of the 26 “best law teachers” in the country. The book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013), is the culmination of a four-year study that identified extraordinary law teachers who have a significant, positive, and long-term effect on their students.

What the Best Law Teachers Do is authored by Professor Gerry Hess of Gonzaga University School of Law, Professor Sophie Sparrow of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and Michael Hunter Schwartz, dean and professor of law at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law. Each chapter in the book emphasizes the qualities that make these select professors stand out from their peers, such as how they relate to their students, their class preparations, teaching methods, and how they provide feedback to their students and assess their students’ learning. 

While preparing the book, the authors visited BC Law, where they observed Professor Hillinger’s lectures and conducted lengthy interviews with her, Dean Vincent Rougeau, her colleagues, students, and alumni. After leaving BC Law, the authors recalled that they felt moved, inspired, and excited to change their own teaching methodology based on what they observed and heard.

"I had the great opportunity to study Ingrid's teaching, and I continue to use, almost every day I teach, things I learned from watching her," said Dean Schwartz. "There really is no one I saw who is more committed to serving her students than Ingrid is."

The book calls Professor Hillinger an inspiring role model for her students--one who carefully prepares them to practice law, devotes herself to helping them grow personally and professionally, and who continues to mentor former students long after graduation.

“All of the teachers we studied are regarded as being among the most rigorous professors at their law schools who have high expectations of every student, yet they also are known for their kindness to their students,” said Professor Hess. “They foster self-confidence in their students and inspire in them a belief that they are capable of great things.  They get to know their students as people and manifest caring and respect for their students. These teachers model hard work, creativity, and humility.”

Professor Hillinger, who won the Boston College Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002, teaches a variety of commercial law/bankruptcy courses at BC Law, including Contracts, Business Bankruptcy, and Secured Transactions. She co-edited Chapter 11 Theory & Practice: A Guide to Reorganization, a multi-volume bankruptcy treatise. She co-authored an Article 9 case book, Commercial Transactions: Secured Financing: Cases, Materials & Problems, which adopts a problem-solving approach to teaching transactional law.

Professor Hillinger has taught at a variety of schools during her 36-year teaching career - William & Mary, the University of Texas at Austin, Emory University, Northeastern University School of Law and the University of Connecticut School of Law. While at William & Mary, she received an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Virginia Council on Higher Education.