Professor Holt served on the Law School Faculty from 1966 through 2005. He received his B.A. from Amherst College and his J.D. and Ph.D. (in American history) from the University of Virginia. In law school he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as Virginia Editor of the Virginia Law Review. Within the Alabama Law School, Professor Holt received one of the first four Chairs awarded, and is now University Research Professor of Law Emeritus.
Professor Holt taught and published in the fields of federal jurisdiction, conflict of laws, trusts and estates, and future interests, while his primary field of teaching and publication was American legal history, particularly the history of American labor law. In retirement his chief production has included books on the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the early history of the American federal court system, and a Civil War battle which took place near his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. At the University of Alabama, Professor Holt also taught or co-taught courses in the English, History, American Studies, African-American Studies (as it was then), New College, and Criminal Justice departments of the College of Arts and Sciences. He served as a visiting professor at the law schools of George Washington University, West Virginia University, and the University of Miami, and was a visiting member of the faculty of history at the University of Virginia. He has also served as a visiting lecturer or professor at Mekelle University in Ethiopia, Fribourg University in Switzerland, and the Australian National University in Canberra.
Professor Holt was a founding member and early Secretary of the American Society for Legal History. He has served as Secretary of the Southwest Labor Studies Association and as a member of the American Legal Studies Association. He also served in the University of Alabama Faculty Senate for many years, being elected its President for one term by his peers there.