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University of Missouri

Gentleman, Educator and Scholar

Law professor named to school’s first privately funded chair.

Thomas Lambert

Thomas Lambert, announced as the Wall Chair in Corporate Law and Governance, speaks while Chancellor Brady J. Deaton (left) and MU School of Law Dean Gary Myers listen. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

The timing couldn’t be better for studying corporate governance, according to law Professor Thomas Lambert. So it is fortuitous that a $1.57 million gift from the Nancy and Charles Wall Family Foundation established Lambert as the Wall Chair in Corporate Law and Governance at the MU School of Law.

The endowed chair, announced Sept. 26, 2013, at the Reynolds Alumni Center, will help the school attract and keep top law teachers and scholars by supplementing the salary of Lambert and future Wall chairs, and supporting their research.

Scholarship should be a part of what a teacher does,” Lambert says. “Law schools these days have separated themselves into schools where the professors just do scholarship and teaching is an afterthought, and schools where the professors just teach students how to pass the bar, but they’re not engaged in the life of the mind. A great teacher doesn’t just provide information, she also inspires students to come along on the intellectual journey.”

Chuck” Wall, who did not attend the announcement, was described by School of Law Dean Gary Myers as “the consummate corporate lawyer.” Wall, JD ’70, is a retired vice chairman and general counsel for Altria and chairs the New York City Opera.

Lambert outlined three matters on which he and Wall concur: The corporate business model is unrivaled in its ability to generate and distribute economic prosperity; there is a need for strong and effective corporate governance; and Mizzou’s law school does legal education the right way.

Lambert practiced in a Chicago law office before entering academia at the Northwestern University School of Law and Washington University in St. Louis. He referenced legendary MU professors Lee Carl Overstreet and William H. Pittman, nicknamed the Fox and the Bull, respectively, in his speech.

I would like to think that were there a Fox and a Bull today, I would be the Fox,” Lambert joked. “These individuals made Mr. Wall the lawyer he is today, so he appreciates the role of the teacher.”