Jim Burling, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Pacific Legal Foundation, and a long-time member of the Executive Committee for the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize, which is given annually at the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, held at the William & Mary Law School.

In awarding its Prize, the Conference seeks to recognize “an individual whose work has advanced the cause of property rights and has contributed to the overall awareness of the important role property rights occupy in the broader scheme of individual liberty.” What an accurate summation and fitting tribute to Jim’s work.

Jim will be only the second member of the practicing bar to receive the Prize, the first having been Michael Berger. With Pacific Legal Foundation, Jim’s practice has impacted the broader realm of property rights jurisprudence and has advanced the cause of individual liberty. Among Jim’s more notable accomplishments is his 2001 victory before the United States Supreme Court, where he argued Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, but his hand has been involved in many more such victories over the years. Perhaps even more importantly, Jim and PLF have tilled the ground by taking on cases that just by being contested have helped raise awareness and the profile of important property rights issues.   

Through his practice, Jim has tirelessly advocated for a more limited government, seeking to empower individuals to make decisions for their own lives and recognizing their inherent worth and ability to do so. Jim may be known as much for his legal prowess and success as his optimism, positivity and whimsy in conveying his opinions at various conferences and in debate. 

Jim will receive the Prize on September 29, during the annual Brigham-Kanner dinner in the Wren Building at William & Mary. The Conference, honoring Jim’s work, will occur on September 30. To register to attend the dinner or the Conference please follow the link below.

The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference and its Prize have become a fixture in the world of property rights scholarship and practice. Each Fall it draws together leading property rights scholars and practitioners for discussions and debate about the importance of property rights in securing individual freedoms, the intersection of environmental law and property rights, practical discussions about the direction of property rights jurisprudence and a great many other tangential fields and topics. It is a unique conference in its blend of academic and practitioner viewpoints.

The previous recipients of the Prize include Frank I. Michelman (2004), Richard Epstein (2005), James W. Ely, Jr. (2006), Margaret Jane Radin (2007), Robert C. Ellickson (2008), Richard E. Pipes (2009), Carol Rose (2010), retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (2011), James E. Krier (2012), Thomas W. Merrill (2013), Michael M. Berger (2014), Joseph William Singer (2015), Hernando de Soto (2016), David L. Callies (2017), Stewart E. Sterk (2018), Steven J. Eagle (2019), Henry Smith (2020) and Vicki Been (2021).

For more information about the Conference and for the official announcement of Jim’s award, please visit https://law.wm.edu/news/stories/2022/burling-to-receive-william-mary-law-schools-2022-brigham-kanner-property-rights-prize.php

Come to William & Mary on September 29-30 to honor and celebrate Jim for being awarded the 2022 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize. If you would like to attend, please feel free to email me at [email protected], and I can help facilitate your attendance.

Note from the Editor: The Federalist Society takes no positions on particular legal and public policy matters. Any expressions of opinion are those of the author. We welcome responses to the views presented here. To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].