The Richard B. Atkinson LGBTQ Law and Policy Program

The Richard B. Atkinson LGBTQ Law and Policy Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law enables faculty and students to affect the quality of public discourse associated with the complex issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy. The program supports a variety of activities including research, service, teaching, speakers and scholarships designed to educate and affect LGBTQ law and policy.

Jordan Blair Woods, Faculty Director

Jordan Blair WoodsJordan Blair Woods, associate professor of law, is a national expert in the area of sexual orientation and gender identity law, and also researches in the areas of criminal law and procedure, family law, and constitutional law. He has been recognized as one of the top 40 LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. Prior to joining the University of Arkansas faculty, Woods served as a fellow at the Williams Institute, a nationally recognized research center on LGBT law and public policy at UCLA School of Law. Woods is a two-time recipient of the Dukeminier Award, which recognizes the best LGBT scholarship published in the previous year. Woods holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College, a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law, and Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy in criminology from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar.

Dean Richard B. Atkinson

Richard B. Atkinson in the classroomRichard B. Atkinson was the 10th dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served from Jan. 6, 2003 until his unexpected death while attending the American Bar Association annual meeting in August of 2005. While on faculty, Atkinson was one of two faculty members selected by the graduating class to participate in the hooding ceremony at commencement virtually every year since the tradition began in the early 1990s.

Atkinson is repeatedly described as a kind, quiet and strong leader and processor, which could be partially due to his training. After receiving a Master of Divinity from Yale University, he stayed for a Juris Doctor. He was admitted to practice in Georgia, became an associate with the law firm of King and Spalding in Atlanta before former President Bill Clinton, a friend from law school, convinced him to move to Fayetteville. A tribute to his legacy and the Richard B. Atkinson Law and Sexuality gift from Michael Hollomon and Eric Wailes, which launched the program, gives an accurate picture, but reading the comments from his former students at the end of the article shows the depth of his impact.

“We observe that few areas of law and policy have changed as quickly or as dramatically as those regulating the legal rights of members of the LGBTQ community."

Michael Hollomon
Legacy Leader, Richard B. Atkinson Law and Sexuality Fund

“Michael and I hope this support will help shape and enhance the School of Law’s academic and clinical programs to advance understanding of the law, especially as it pertains to the issues and challenges of law and sexuality.”

Eric Wailes
Legacy Leader, Richard B. Atkinson Law and Sexuality Fund