A native of Ontario, Hetherington received an A. B. from Dartmouth in 1950, LL.B. from Cornell in 1953, and LL.M. from Berkeley in 1956. He joined the Virginia law faculty in 1971 after eleven years on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Law. While in law school he was managing editor of the Cornell Law Review, and before beginning his teaching career, he clerked for Chief Judge William Denman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practice law for three years in New York City. He was a visiting professor at Berkeley and Stanford Law Schools and in 1985 was Marshall P. Madison Professor at the University of San Francisco. During the 1988-89 academic year, he was a visiting professor at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco and then at UCLA. Hetherington taught in the fields of commercial transactions, corporations, and contracts. He was the author of a number of articles on corporation law dealing with publicly-held corporations, and more extensively on the problems of closely-held firms.