Three School of Law Faculty Members Named Endowed Professors

From left: Sharon Foster, Will Foster and Jill Lens.
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From left: Sharon Foster, Will Foster and Jill Lens.

Sharon Elaine Foster, Jill Wieber Lens and Will Foster are the new holders of endowed professorships at the U of A School of Law. Sharon Foster was appointed as the Sidney Parker Davis Jr. Professor of Business and Commercial Law, Lens was named the Robert A. Leflar Professor and Will Foster was reappointed as the Arkansas Bar Foundation Professor of Law.

"I am thrilled that we are able to recognize our distinguished faculty members and grateful to the benefactors who make these professorships possible," said Margaret Sova McCabe, dean of the School of Law. "Professors Sharon Foster, Lens and Will Foster have inspired our students and made valuable contributions to the study of law and in service to the profession. I am also thankful to our ad hoc committee of endowed professors for making these recommendations and appreciate the care with which they approached their work."

Endowed professorships serve a vital role in supporting the university's mission. Funds from the endowed professorships go toward attracting and retaining high-caliber faculty as well as supporting their research and outreach.


The purpose of the Sidney Parker Davis Jr. Professorship of Business and Commercial Law is to support a nationally recognized professor of law whose teaching, scholarship and service focuses on business and commercial law. The professorship was created in 2004 by Sid Davis and his wife Rita S. Davis (1931-2012). The Davis' gift was matched dollar-for-dollar by the university funds given by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.

"As a teacher of commercial law and recipient of the Sidney Parker Davis Professor of Law, I take to heart the words of Patrick Henry: 'Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship,'" Sharon Foster said.

Prior to joining the law school faculty in Arkansas in 2000, Sharon Foster taught in the Legal Research & Writing Program and offered courses in international legal research and international finance at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Before joining academia, she was in private practice in Los Angeles, focusing on construction and international law.

Sharon Foster earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1983, her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 1987, her LL.M. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1997 and her Ph.D. in law from the University of Edinburgh in 2007.


School of Law faculty members are selected as the Robert A. Leflar Professor based on outstanding achievement in teaching and scholarship. The professorship was created from the Claude Finch Trust, E.J. Ball Trustee, in 1991, to provide a competitive margin of support above and beyond state appropriations to the law school.

"I am honored and excited to be appointed to the Robert A. Leflar professorship," Lens said. "I am very grateful to the benefactors, Dean McCabe and the committee for my selection."

Lens is a leading expert on legal recognition and treatment of stillbirth. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in the Washington University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Boston University Law Review and Boston College Law Review, and has been cited by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She has also been quoted in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Lens received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with honors in political science and the liberal arts. She received her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law, where she received an Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement and graduated Order of the Coif. She also served as Note & Comment Editor of the Iowa Law Review.


School of Law faculty members are selected as the Arkansas Bar Foundation Professor of Law based on outstanding teaching and excellence in scholarship in Arkansas law. During their one-year appointments, they are expected to contribute to the legal profession in Arkansas by building strong relationships between the faculty and state's bench and bar. The professorship was created through a gift from the Arkansas Bar Foundation.

"I am deeply grateful for the support of the Arkansas Bar Foundation for both our students and the work of the faculty," Will Foster said. "It's always a treat to work with the outstanding and generous lawyers of the Arkansas bar, and I'm honored to serve in this role again."

Will Foster's teaching and research focus primarily on business law, tax and transactional matters. His current courses include Business Organizations, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Counsel Colloquium, Tax Policy, and Federal Income Taxation of Business Entities. Prior to joining the U of A, Will Foster was an associate professor at Washburn University School of Law and an attorney at Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP in Fayetteville.

Will Foster graduated summa cum laude from University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in political science and summa cum laude from the U of A with a Juris Doctor degree. He also holds a Master of Laws in taxation from New York University.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.



Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law


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