Howard University



Contracts, Entertainment Law, Federal Tax I

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Biography of Spencer H. Boyer

Spencer H. Boyer is the senior most faculty member at the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., where he has taught for forty four years. As well as being one of the most senior law professors in the United States he is also the senior African American law professor in the United States . He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1960 from Howard University; a J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1965; and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1966.

While at George Washington University he was on the executive board of editors of the George Washington Law Review. At Harvard Law School, he was the co-founder and co-editor of the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review, today one of the most respected civil rights law journals in the country.

During his more than forty years of teaching, Professor Boyer has consistently won student awards for excellence in teaching. During a period spanning five different decades, Professor Boyer has taught at the Law School longer than anyone else in its 140 year history. He has taught in excess of 3000 law school graduates, including, in some instances, two generations from the same family. He, undoubtedly, has taught more black attorneys than any other law school professor in history. He has taught Civil Rights Law, Constitutional Law II, Entertainment Law, Business Organizations, Contracts, Federal Taxation, Municipal Law, State and Local Tax, Unfair Trade Practices and Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights. Professor Boyer is credited with establishing one of the first courses in Entertainment Law at a major law school, having taught this course since 1972. Administratively, Professor Boyer was the Associate Dean of Howard Law School for three years and the Director of the Howard Legal Intern Program for a number of years.

He has been a visiting professor at the University of Florida, University of Iowa, and Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C, as well as a Distinguished Lecturer on Taxation and Urban Economics at the University of Buffalo School of Law. He currently teaches Entertainment Law as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia.. He participated in the CLEO program (Council on Legal Education Opportunities), a program designed to attract minority students and prepare them for law school, at Temple University and the University of Toledo. In addition, Professor Boyer served as Director of five CLEO programs hosted at Howard University.

In spring of 2008 he received the Georgetown Law Brothers Forum award at the “Celebration of Black Men in Law.” honoring the achievements of black men in the legal field. The awards were be given to men who have been committed to excellence in three different legal areas: academic, government, and private practice.

    He received the academic award for his many achievements as a professor of law Among the other awards and honors he has received:

    Distinguished Howard University Faculty Author Award (2000, 2002, 2004)

    Spencer H. Boyer Scholarship established by former students to be given to outstanding law students at the annual Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer Association (BESLA) conference

    Spencer H. Boyer Annual Keynote Address established by students to recognize an outstanding lawyer in the entertainment industry, said attorney to give an address at the annual SELSA (Sports and Entertainment Law Student Association) SELSA is one of the largest student sport and entertainment law school organizations in the country.

    The keynote address in 2007 was titled “The First Annual Professor Spencer H. Boyer Keynote Address”, in recognition of forty years of untiring effort and scholastic achievements by Professor Boyer in the field of entertainment law”. Professor Boyer was also presented at the conference with an Award of Excellence plaque for his continued excellence in the field of sports and entertainment law.

  • Outstanding Alumni Award 2002 given by Howard Law School Alumni Association for the first time to a non- alumnus
  • Outstanding Professor Award(2005-2006)
  • Professor of the Year Award (1998)
  • Student Bar Association (SBA) Award for Excellence in Teaching (1976-77); (1977-78); (1978-79);(1982-1984) (1983-1984); (1988-1989); (1989-90);(1991-92); (1992-93); (1993-94);(1998-99)
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (1997-98)
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award Class of 1999
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award University Award (1997-98)
  • Student Bar Association (SBA) Award for Lifetime Dedication (1977-78)
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (1975-1976)
  • Outstanding Professor Award (1973-1974)
  • Paul L. Diggs Award for Outstanding Professor (1972-1973)
  • Student Bar Association Award for Dedication to Howard University Law Students (1970-71)

He participated as an instructor in the Howard University School of Law Summer Abroad Program 2002 in South Africa where he taught a course at the University of the Western Cape in “Protection of International Intellectual Property” to both Howard law students and students from across the United States and South Africa.

In the Spring of 2002, at the bequest of the Jamaican Bar, he traveled to Jamaica and gave a presentation on “The Protection of Jamaican Intellectual Property” before members and guests of the island’s esteemed bar, as part of the Howard Law School Jamaican Project.

In April 2002, the National Howard University School of Law Alumni Association voted to present him with their outstanding alumni award which was later presented at their annual meeting in San Francisco, California. This is the first time that the award has been given to an individual who is not an alumni of our law school.

In October 2002 at the Annual Meeting of BESLA, three of his former students established a scholarship in his name in recognition of more than thirty years of teaching Entertainment Law.

To broaden his interdisciplinary approach to teaching, Professor Boyer attended extended summer institutes on Social Science Methods in Legal Education sponsored by the University of Denver and the Law and Economics Program sponsored by the University of Miami. He is a frequent participant at various conferences, including the World Peace Through Law Conference, held in Mexico City, where he presented a major paper. In addition, he is the author of many scholarly articles. Professor Boyer has been a frequent panelist at various BESLA conferences.

He has been the faculty advisor to many student organizations, including the Entertainment Law Students’ Association, Student Bar Association (SBA), the Barrister (the law school newspaper), the Howard University Law School Scroll and the Howard University Law Journal. He is a founding faculty advisor of the Bryant Inn of Phi Delta Phi Fraternity and has served extensively on university and law school committees. Presently, Professor Boyer is chairman of the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee at Howard University School of Law.

In designing a recruitment poster for the law school, Professor Boyer coined the slogan now used in whole or part throughout the university: “A tradition of leadership, the legacy continues.” True to that tradition, in landmark litigation, Professor Boyer was the plaintiff in a home lending discrimination case against a leading Washington, D.C. area lending institution. As a consequence of that litigation, the defendant bank agreed to increase its loans to minority home owners, to require its employees to undergo classes and counseling in minority lending practices, and to allow an inspection of their minority lending compliance practices. Professor Boyer’s case resulted in one of the highest monetary settlements in the nation to date by a lending institution in an action brought by an individual plaintiff.

Professor Boyer’s community service, in recent years, has included representation of a non-profit organization dedicated to the construction of a family oriented theme park on Childrens’ Island in the District of Columbia. As a consultant to Trans Urban East Inc., Professor Boyer helped design the concept of tenant management and ownership of public housing. A partial listing of public interest organizations represented by Professor Boyer’s include: Change, Inc. (an antipoverty agency), City-Wide National Capital Housing Authority Tenants Union and the NAACP-Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Poor Peoples Campaign. In addition, Professor Boyer has served on various boards of directors, including WETA (Public Television), the Task Force for Secondary Education, Montgomery County, the Federal Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the Boys and Girls Club of Takoma Park. Professor Boyer has been the recipient of many awards and honors, and is listed in Who’s Who in Legal America, Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who Among African-Americans

Professor Boyer has also represented clients in the sports/entertainment field. A partial listing of his clients include William Becton and Friends (gospel stars); Harolyn Blackwell, with the Metropolitan Opera, who starred in the Broadway production of “Candide”; various jazz artists, including Dick Morgan; rappers and R & B artists; graphic artist Poncho Brown; and sports professionals such as Ross Browner of the Cincinnati Bengals and noted boxers, as well as Dave Jacobs, the trainer for Sugar Ray Leonard, and the estate of Len Bias.

Professor Boyer also was involved as counsel in the historic Watergate case, ultimately on the brief of United States v. Nixon before the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Boyer is married to an attorney, Prudence Bushnell. Two of his three sons are attorneys. His third son is a currently in college. He has three daughters. One is an electrical engineer with a second degree in Symbolic Systems (Artificial Intelligence). His second and third daughters have not made career choices since one is eleven years old (currently enrolled at Howard University Middle School and the other is only six years old and a recent graduate of the Howard University Early Learning Program .

Professor Boyer’s office is located in 404 Houston Hall and he can be reached at (202) 806-8019.


Professional Contributions

updated: November 27, 2012