Owners' Counsel of America Awards the Crystal Eagle to Professor Lynda Butler

For Her Dedication and Contributions to Protecting Private Property Rights

2024 Crystal Eagle Recipient Lynda Butler

The Crystal Eagle Award honors individuals who have made a substantial contribution towards advancing private property rights.  Each year since 2001, the Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA), a nationwide network of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protection of private property rights, considers nominations and selects a recipient for the award. The 2024 Crystal Eagle was awarded to Professor Lynda Butler of William & Mary Law School at the OCA Awards Dinner in New Orleans on February 3rd.

Professor Butler has been at the forefront of private property rights for over four decades, authoring numerous scholarly publications as well as teaching generations of law students critical concepts in property law, including eminent domain, environmental regulations, and land use and zoning. For more than a decade she has also served as the Director of William & Mary’s Property Rights Project, which “promotes the exchange of ideas between scholars and members of the property rights bar through lectures, an annual conference, and publications.” As part of the Project, Professor Butler organized the annual Brigham-Kanner Conference, usually held in the Fall at William & Mary Law School, to bring scholars, students and legal practitioners together to explore the theory and practice of property rights law. 

Robert Thomas, an Honorary Member of Owners’ Counsel and the Director of Property Rights Litigation at Pacific Legal Foundation, presented the award, noting that “…the Conference, under Professor Butler’s steady leadership, has delved into why the essential notion of private property ownership is fundamental to human flourishing and human dignity. Property, after all, is one of those things that divides us from the animals; what makes us human.”

The 2024 Crystal Eagle was awarded in recognition of Professor Butler’s courage, long-term vision and steady leadership of William & Mary Law School’s Property Rights Project, her dedicated work to elevate the civil right of private property ownership, and her decades-long mentorship of the next generation of property rights lawyers. Mr. Thomas noted that “Several prominent law schools treat the role of property as a diminishing one and have shunted it to an elective. So, I am not overstating when I declare that Professor Butler was swimming upstream-and against a pretty strong current.” Appreciative of both her character and her professional accomplishments, Thomas said “Her long-term vision – indeed courage – are highly worth of our recognition and appreciation. We, the guardians of the ‘guardian of every other right’ – the members and affiliates of the Owners’ Counsel of America – owe her a debt of gratitude.”

Information on past Crystal Eagle award winners, as well as how to nominate someone for the 2025 award, can be found on the OCA website, www.ownerscounsel.com.

Source: Owners' Counsel of America