Property Law Expert and Legal Historian Maureen Brady to Join Faculty

Maureen Brady will teach Land Use this fall, and Property in the spring.

May 31, 2016

Property law expert and legal historian Maureen E. “Molly” Brady will join the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law this fall.

Brady, who will join the school as an associate professor of law, is one of the first graduates of Yale University’s Ph.D. in law program. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her A.B. summa cum laude in history from Harvard College. In addition to property and legal history, her expertise also includes land use law, local government law and intellectual property.

“What is great about Molly is that she asks challenging and interesting questions, and she’s not afraid of the answers," said Professor Richard Schragger, also an expert in property law. "Her work is refreshing, informative and really eye-opening. She’ll add great strength to an already-strong cohort of property scholars here at Virginia. I’m particularly excited about having another scholar at UVA who is interested in land use, urban policy and the role that legal doctrine plays in economic development.” 

Brady will teach Land Use this fall and Property in the spring, topics she is passionate about.

"I really believe that property, land use and local government law are incredibly exciting fields to study,” she said. “They have a reputation for being feudal and arcane, but they are the subjects in law that create the visible environments we live in, whether those environments are dominated by skyscrapers, highways, fences or trees.

"And the last decade or so has made property even more important — as a result of recent state and federal court rulings on topics like eminent domain and water rights, the landscape is shifting."

Brady’s scholarship undertakes historical analyses of legal rules and land use policies, which she uses to account for developments in eminent domain law and to explore how different institutions respond to problems in city planning and governance.

One of Brady's articles will be published in the upcoming Virginia Law Review. It covers the ways that state courts have expanded what counts as “property” under state and federal constitutions. Another article, “The Lost 'Effects' of the Fourth Amendment: Giving Personal Property Due Protection,” was published in the Yale Law Journal this year.

She said she also has her sights on continuing to chart new territory in property law and drawing new connections between property and other fields.

She is now drafting an article on neglected state constitutional provisions that require state and local governments not only to compensate for property “taken” for public use, but also property “damaged” for public use.

Brady is a former corporate associate with Ropes & Gray in Boston, where she worked primarily on transactions involving life sciences companies or transfers of intellectual property. Most of her practice involved licensing technology and evaluating risks in the intellectual property portfolios of companies being targeted for investment by private equity firms.

As part of her pro bono practice, Brady represented clients in the Massachusetts Legal Clinic for the Homeless and helped charitable organizations secure trademark protection for their names and logos.

While in law school she was a two-time recipient of the Parker Prize for legal history scholarship and was awarded the Quintin Johnstone Prize in Real Property Law, the Jewell Prize for an outstanding contribution to a Yale Law School journal, and the Cullen Prize for the best paper written by a first-year student. She served as co-editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Law & Technology and was a Coker Teaching Fellow in contract law.

After graduating, she clerked for Judge Bruce M. Selya on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Brady is a member of the Massachusetts bar, the American Planning Association Planning and Law Division, American Society for Legal History, and the Society for American City and Regional Planning History.

Brady said she is looking forward to joining the Law School.

"[The school] has generous, motivated and interesting students, so I’m really looking forward to working with them,” she said. “UVA Law also has an unbelievable track record of employing and producing terrific legal historians, so I am looking forward to being involved with that community.”

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