Lunch with Professor Kitch

Lia Keane '18
Features Editor

Having been a member of our faculty since 1982, Professor Edmund Kitch has become a friendly fixture within the UVa Law community over the last three-and-a-half decades. Always quick to greet students in the hallways with a smile, Prof. Kitch helps to promote the collegial atmosphere that the law school prides itself on, and that is one of the reasons why the Law Weekly staff was excited to speak with Prof. Kitch when he joined us for lunch before spring break. 

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Prof. Kitch received his B.A. from Yale University and completed his law degree at the University of Chicago. While in law school, Prof. Kitch developed an interest in law and economics, which he attributes in large part to the mentorship he received from Ronald Coase and Aaron Director, two highly celebrated professors at Chicago who played a key role in developing the university’s School of Economics. After graduating from law school, Prof. Kitch initially began teaching at Chicago, though he subsequently took at position at the Indiana University School of Law to be eligible for a draft deferment. Prof. Kitch returned to Chicago’s law school in 1965, and he remained there until coming to UVa seventeen years later. When asked what factors have kept him at UVa Law for such a substantial portion of his career, Prof. Kitch replied that the support he’s received from his colleagues and the law school’s alumni has made our school a wonderful place to work. Notably, Prof. Kitch has also taken several visiting professor positions over the years, which he described as providing excellent professional and academic opportunities. In particular, Prof. Kitch stated that he appreciated seeing the differences between law school programs across the country and having the opportunity to bring successful elements back to UVa.   

Prof. Kitch primarily teaches courses that fall within the corporate umbrella, such as Corporations and Securities Regulation, though he indicated his personal interest in antitrust and intellectual property law as well. This semester, Prof. Kitch is also co-teaching the Monetary Constitution Seminar with Professor Julia Mahoney. The course examines the evolution of our country’s financial industry and offers students the opportunity to delve into the historical context of many modern issues, such as the national debt and taxation. Prof. Kitch expressed enthusiasm for the current student-to-faculty ratio, and said that he has enjoyed teaching smaller classes and interacting more closely with students. 

Despite his long tenure as a professor, Prof. Kitch said that he still finds the process of learning “puzzling.” When pressed to elaborate, Prof. Kitch noted that students learn a great deal between the start of 1L and their graduation day, though he wonders what it is that specifically allows them to leave UVa with a sense of preparedness for the future. Prof. Kitch believes that receiving adequate legal training may take all three years of the current degree program, though he noted that it is up to students to make the most of their schedules by taking relevant practical classes. In terms of the advice that Prof. Kitch has for students, he urges continually refining your career goals and strategies. In doing this, Prof. Kitch recommends critically assessing who your clients will be, what value you can bring to your job, and identifying methods of conveying your special attributes to your colleagues. For students planning on working for a firm, Prof. Kitch highlighted the importance of developing a strong bond with a partner or set of partners who can help to develop your practical skills and general knowledge while you are still in the early stages of your career. More generally, Prof. Kitch also encourages students to become comfortable with various research tools, including those that aren’t automatic or “easy” in order to avoid becoming dependent on flawed systems or making easily avoided errors. 

Outside of teaching, Prof. Kitch enjoys attending the opera in New York with his wife. His favorite show, Lucia di Lammermoor, will run at the Metropolitan Opera throughout the spring. In addition to spending evenings at the opera, Prof. Kitch goes to Tanglewood Music Festival each year. Tanglewood, which is held in Massachusetts, consists of a series of concerts featuring symphonic, chamber, and choral music, along with contemporary jazz and pop artists. Prof. Kitch also enjoys spending time with family; his two daughters live in Los Angeles and Camden, Maine, respectively, and his son currently resides in Greenwich Village.