A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Armistead Mason Dobie received three degrees from the University of Virginia—a B.A. in 1901, M.A. in 1902, and LL.B. in 1904. As a member of Phi Delta Phi, he is said to have initiated the annual tradition of parodying the law faculty. He spent three years in practice in St. Louis, Missouri, during which he conducted the Symphony Orchestra at the World’s Fair. He returned to teach at UVA Law in 1907, becoming a full professor in 1909. Dobie left the University to serve in World War I, serving in the Army in France and rising to the rank of Major. After the war ended, he went to Harvard Law School to begin work on an S.J.D. He also studied at Columbia’s Graduate School of Jurisprudence before returning to Charlottesville in the fall of 1922. Dobie’s experiences at Harvard led him to introduce the case method of teaching law at Virginia despite Dean Lile’s resistance to this approach. Other young professors including Ribble and Dillard would quickly follow Dobie’s lead and by the early 1930s, the case method was fully embraced by the faculty of the University of Virginia Law School.
During his tenure at UVA Law Dobie taught federal procedure, legal history, taxation, code pleading, criminal law and procedure, wills, and sales. Dobie edited casebooks and wrote texts on federal jurisdiction and procedure, the law of bailments and carriers, and federal rules. His former student, Jack Ritchie, recalled him as “colorful, vital, dynamic, dramatic, sarcastic on occasion, and never at a loss for words. He dominated his classes by force of his awesome intellect, and the incisive probing questions that he addressed with machine-gun-like rapidity to the hapless student called on to recite.” Dobie succeeded Lile as Dean of the Law School in 1932, resigning when F.D.R. appointed him first as a U.S. District Court Judge in 1939 and in 1940 to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he served for over sixteen years. Judge Dobie continued to teach a class in federal procedure until 1951. He died in 1962.
A collection of Dobie's judicial and professional papers is available in Special Collections.
Handbook on the Law of Bailments and Carriers (West, 1914).
Illustrative Cases on Bailments and Carriers (West, 1914).
Handbook of Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure (West, 1928).
Criminal Justice in Virginia (with Hugh N. Fuller, Frederick Deane Goodwin Ribble and Raymond Moley) (Century, 1931).
Cases on Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure (West, 1935).
Cases and Materials on Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure (with Mason Ladd) (West, 1940).
Venue in the United States District Court, 2 Va. L. Rev. 1-17 (1914).
Dependent Relative Revocation of Wills, 2 Va. L. Rev. 327-337 (1915).
Testamentary Incorporation by Reference, 3 Va. L. Rev. 583-597 (1916).
Jurisdiction of the United States District Court as Affected by Assignment, 6 Va. L. Rev. 553-567 (1920).
Judicial Review of Administrative Action in Virginia, 8 Va. L. Rev. 477-506, 557-588 (1922).
The Time for Removing Cases to the United States District Court, 9 Va. L. Rev. 573-590 (1923).
The Federal Judicial System, 12 Va. L. Rev. 89-121 (1925).
Jurisdictional Amount in the United States District Court, 38 Harv. L. Rev. 733-752 (1925); reprinted in 59 Am. L. Rev. 707-727 (1925) and in 11 Va. L. Reg. (n.s.) 513-533 (1926).
Venue in Civil Cases in the United States District Court, 35 Yale L.J. 129-149 (1925).
Venue in Criminal Cases in the United States District Court, 12 Va. L. Rev. 287-294 (1926).
Habeas Corpus in the Federal Courts, 13 Va. L. Rev. 433-460 (1927).
A Private Law School in Old Virginia, 16 Va. L. Rev. 815-818 (1930).
Seven Implications of Swift v. Tyson, 16 Va. L. Rev. 225-242 (1930); reprinted in 35 Com. L.J. 329-335 (1930).
Frictional Points of Conflict Between State and Federal Courts, 31 Rep. La. St. B. Ass’n 78-94 (1931); reprinted in 19 Va. L. Rev. 485-499 (1933) and in 38 Com. L.J. 226-231 (1933).
Reminiscences of a Teacher of Law, 44 Proc. Va. St. B. Ass’n 315-324 (1932).
Recent Developments in Federal Procedure, 21 Va. L. Rev. 876-894 (1935).
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 25 Va. L. Rev. 261-315 (1939).
William Wirt (1772-1834), in 13 Library of Southern Literature 5903-5908 (Martin & Hoyt, 1910).
Review of Hopkins, The New Annotated Federal Judicial Code and the New Federal Equity Rules, 35 Yale L.J. 648-649 (1926).
Review of Long, The Genesis of the Constitution of the United States of America, 12 Va. L. Rev. 438 (1926).
Review of Medina, Cases on Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure, 27 Colum. L. Rev. 232-233 (1927).
Review of Green, Cases on the Law of Carriers, 13 Cornell L.Q. 648 (1928).
Review of Miller & Baar, United States Income and War Tax Guide; Miller & Baar, Consolidated United States Income Tax Laws; and Barton & Browning, Federal Income and Estate Tax Laws, 22 Ill. L. Rev. 577-578 (1928).
Charles Alfred Graves, 41 Proc. Va. St. B. Ass’n 261-263 (1929); excerpt reprinted in 15 Va. L. Rev. 726-727 (1929).
Review of Clark, Handbook on the Law of Code Pleading, 15 Va. L. Rev. 520-521 (1929).
Review of Handy, Inheritance and Other Like Taxes, 16 Va. L. Rev. 533-534 (1930).
Review of Bonner & Smith, The Administration of Justice from Homer to Aristotle, 17 Va. L. Rev. 412-413 (1931).
Review of Miller, Hendricks & Everett, Reorganizations and Other Exchanges in Federal Income Taxation, 17 Va. L. Rev. 852-853 (1931).
Review of Frankfurter & Katz, Cases and Other Authorities on Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure, 6 S. Cal. L. Rev. 81-82 (1932).
Review of Maguire & Magill, Cases on the Law of Taxation, 27 Ill. L. Rev. 231-232 (1932).
Review of Vold, Handbook on the Law of Sales, 18 Va. L. Rev. 592-593 (1932).
Review of Williston & Mccurdy, A Selection of Cases on the Law of Sales, 19 Va. L. Rev. 200-202 (1932).
Review of Cowley, A Bibliography of Abridgments, Digests, Dictionaries, and Indexes of English Law to the Year 1800, 19 A.B.A. J. 355-356 (1933).
Review of MacDougall, ed., Crime for Profit, 19 Va. L. Rev. 886-887 (1933).
Review of Scott, Criminal Law in Colonial Virginia, 7 Tul. L. Rev. 307-309 (1933).
Review of Willis, The Parliamentary Powers of English Government Departments, 82 U. Pa. L. Rev. 198-199 (1933).
Review of Mikell, Cases on Criminal Law, 20 Va. L. Rev. 603 (1934).
Review of Pound, ed., Harvard Legal Essays, 21 Va. L. Rev. 244-245 (1934).
Review of Records of the Suffolk County Court, 1671-1680, 20 Va. L. Rev. 715-717 (1934).
Review of American Law Institute, A Study of the Business of the Federal Courts, 21 Va. L. Rev. 962-965 (1935).
Review of Hannan, The Canon Law of Wills, 44 Yale L.J. 1283-1284 (1935).
William Minor Lile (1859-1935), 22 Va. L. Rev. 851-852 (1936).
Review of Moore & Friedman, Moore’s Federal Practice, 25 Va. L. Rev. 749-750 (1939).