The New York Law School community mourns the passing of E. Donald Shapiro, Dean Emeritus and Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law, who passed away on December 27, 2010.
Dean Shapiro made significant contributions to the field of legal medicine throughout his long and illustrious career in private practice, as a professor of law, and as a law school dean. He was one of the pioneers in health law who transformed the field into an important and academically respectable part of legal education. From his landmark casebook to his cutting-edge scholarly articles, Dean Shapiro contributed greatly to the improvement of the legal profession’s response to medical science challenges, specifically in the areas of DNA, pharmaceuticals, and bioethics.
Born in 1931 in York, Pennsylvania, Dean Shapiro graduated from Dickinson College in 1953 and went on to attend Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1956. He joined the faculty at Boston University School of Law, where he co-authored Law, Medicine, and Forensic Science (with William J. Curran), his influential casebook on law and medicine. In 1960, he joined the University of Michigan, where he served as Associate Dean for Continuing Legal Education at the law school as well as Professor of Social Welfare at the school of social work. He later became the President and Director of the Practising Law Institute in New York City.
From 1973 to 1983, he served as President, Dean, and Professor of Law at New York Law School, leading the School through difficult economic times. He was named the Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law in 1982, serving in that role until 2000 when he was also named Dean Emeritus. Dean Shapiro is credited with helping to build an outstanding faculty, ushering in a more modern approach to legal education, and taking the first steps leading to the Law School’s establishment of a campus, including its new academic building, in TriBeCa. His love of the institution was felt long after his departure as dean.
“Don loved New York Law School and expressed to me on many occasions his tremendous pride in our school,” said Dean Richard A. Matasar. “He consistently offered his support to me, asked about his faculty friends often, and constantly sought out information on the many graduates of the school he taught and led for so long. He will be warmly remembered by our graduates and missed by us all.”
A lifelong teacher, Dean Shapiro taught at several other institutions, including Oxford University, where he served as a visiting fellow and supernumerary fellow of St. Cross College. While at Oxford, he delivered the Sacks Memorial Lecture and presented the keynote address to the Royal College of Medicine. He was also a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University (Israel), Harvard Medical School, The University of Buckingham School of Law (England), California Western School of Law, and New York University.
In recognition of his scholarship in legal medicine, Dean Shapiro received honorary degrees from the following institutions: New York Law School (LL.D. 1973), Dickinson College (LL.D. 1975), York College of Pennsylvania (H.L.D. 1980), Oxford University (M.A. 1986), and California Western School of Law (LL.D. 2010). He served on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including Frequency Electronics, Inc. and Loral Space and Communications, Ltd. Among his many honors and awards, Dean Shapiro received the Lifetime Honorary Membership Award from the New York Law School Alumni Association in 2001, and the Law School’s Smith Distinguished Scholarship Award in 1982.
New York Law School is grateful for Dean Shapiro’s leadership as a dean and professor, for his dedication to his family, and for his many accomplishments. We extend our condolences to his wife, Merle, and his children and grandchildren.
Note: On April 29, 2011, then-Dean Richard A. Matasar and Merle Shapiro hosted an event for the New York Law School community celebrating the life of Dean Shapiro at the Law School.
The New York Law School community mourns the passing of Harry H. Wellington, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, who died at his home in Manhattan on August 8, 2011.
“New York Law School was truly fortunate to have one of the nation’s most prominent legal and academic figures lead the Law School into its second century,” said Dean and President Richard A. Matasar. “Harry will be warmly remembered by our board members, faculty, staff, and graduates and missed by us all.”
The course of Dean Wellington’s life was not at all predictable. In a leap of faith—both in himself and in New York Law School—he said goodbye to the familiar prestige of Yale Law School, where he had served as dean for a decade and been made Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law, and became the 14th Dean and President of New York Law School in 1992. His decision to take the helm of an up-and-coming urban law school whose very foundations were revolutionary says much about his personal and professional courage. In fact, it was also a vote of confidence in NYLS.
Dean Wellington’s courage was in evidence much earlier in his life. He was born in 1926 in New Haven, Connecticut. Although money for college was scarce, and the prudent choice would have been Yale, his father’s alma mater, Dean Wellington craved independence and adventure. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, helping to pay his tuition by working as a fry cook at a luncheonette and by earning a scholarship. He was accepted to Harvard Law School and later awarded a clerkship with Justice Calvert Magruder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He served another clerkship with Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dean Wellington’s academic career began at Stanford Law School where he taught for one year. He then joined the faculty at Yale Law School where he flourished as a scholar and teacher, and where he served as Dean from 1975 to 1985. During his 10 years in the role, he became known as a nurturer of his faculty members. In 1983, he was named Sterling Professor of Law. While at Yale, Dean Wellington served as a consultant to domestic and foreign government agencies and commissions and was actively involved in bar association committees concerned with law reform.
In 1992, upon his retirement from the Yale faculty, Dean Wellington made an extraordinary move, joining the faculty at New York Law School to lead it as President and Dean. “At first, I said no, and when they asked me why, I told them that being a tenured professor at Yale Law School was the next best thing to being born rich,” he recalled. “But as I thought about the opportunity to help this place that I had come to love, I changed my mind.”
At NYLS, Dean Wellington had a major impact on the image and reputation of the School. He put together and oversaw a first-rate faculty, whose well-established scholarship continues to earn respect and admiration from the legal community. He remained dean for eight years until 2000, and in 2007, he retired from teaching. He continued to serve on the School’s Board of Trustees. Dean Wellington was awarded the President’s Medal of Honor during the Law School’s 2011 Commencement Exercises for his significant contributions to New York Law School.
Dean Wellington is survived by his wife, Sheila Wellington; his sons, John and Thomas; his daughter-in-law, NYLS Professor Lenni Benson; and two grandchildren, Max and Lily. Contributions in his memory may be sent by check to NYLS’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Attention: Harry H. Wellington Scholarship Fund (checks payable to New York Law School).
Note: A memorial service was held for Dean Wellington at Yale Law School on November 13, 2011.
Remarks by: Professor Edward A.
Memorial for Harry H. Wellington | November 13, 2011 | Yale Law School
I first met Harry some twenty years ago when he came to New York Law School. Then, I took pride, as I surely do now, in the fact that I had a small hand, as a member of the dean search committee, in bringing him to the school. From our first encounter, I was won over by his rare combination of warm and gentle manner, tolerant and sensitive demeanor, astute and sophisticated judgment, and passionate devotion to intellect and education.
Harry nourished a never-flagging commitment to the highest possible standards of academic excellence. During his deanship I served for several years on the appointments committee, an onerous and time-consuming job that a dean could surely avoid. Always, however, Harry insisted on sitting with the committee and participating in all its deliberations. “The most important thing I can do,” he repeatedly insisted, “is to help ensure that we find the very best candidates and make the highest quality faculty appointments possible.”
I remember vividly the way Harry recounted one particular story about clerking for Justice Felix Frankfurter. Harry thought me an avid, though relatively unsympathetic, audience for his Frankfurter recollections, and I suppose it’s fair to say that he himself had mixed feelings about the Justice and his career on the court. The story involved an intense disagreement. Asked to review the Justice’s draft of an opinion, Harry reluctantly explained that he thought its reasoning unsound. Frankfurter immediately began arguing with him and continued to do so for several days. Indeed, while Harry was driving him home one evening, Frankfurter grew so upset with Harry’s continued refusal to accept the opinion’s reasoning that he gave him an extended and exceptionally rough going-over. It was so rough, in fact, that when Harry arrived home his wonderful wife, Sheila, was waiting at the door with a martini in her hand. Frankfurter had just telephoned, she informed him, and told her that when Harry arrived home he would be needing a particularly strong drink.
Harry, of course, was unnerved by the experience, and he feared that he had overstepped his bounds. In chambers the following Monday he awaited the Justice’s arrival with some anxiety. When Frankfurter finally appeared, he strode straight to Harry’s desk and literally threw a batch of papers on it. “Here, read this,” he commanded curtly. “I hope you’re happy!” Stunned, Harry quickly gathered the papers and began reading. It was the opinion, now rewritten to reflect Harry’s analysis and Harry’s conclusion. Frankfurter had reexamined the opinion over the weekend, and he had finally—and obviously quite unhappily—decided that Harry was right.
Harry was understandably relieved and rightly proud, but he was also deeply impressed. On an opinion the Justice cared about and defended repeatedly—and even vehemently—Frankfurter was ultimately willing to acknowledge that his young law clerk had the better of the argument. The episode, Harry believed, exemplified in practice the ideals of law and reason, of intellectual honesty and integrity. It was for its illustration of those ideals, I believe, that Harry continued to remember and recount the story, and it was for his own profound commitment to those same ideals that I—and so many others—so admired Harry.
After Harry left the deanship, he moved into the office next to mine. At first occasionally, and soon quite regularly, I would stop by his office, invariably greeted by a wide, welcoming smile. “Come in, my friend,” he would say with a wave, and then one or the other of us would immediately advance some question, or observation, or opinion on whatever issue was currently occupying our attention, sometimes speaking simultaneously and frequently seeking—delightfully as it turned out—to be attempting to make the exact same point. There was wonderful satisfaction in knowing that no matter how agitated I might be about some unfortunate new legal or political development—and no matter how hyperbolic some of my assertions might be—Harry would respond sympathetically and often would add something like: “Well, you’re right, and let me tell you what makes it even worse.”
Those conversations ranged widely from law and politics, to friends and family, to the books, plays, movies, and travel experiences we shared or hoped to share. Talking with Harry was invariably rich and rewarding—informative, amusing, enlightening, and thought-provoking. Listening to his comments and observations, I not only learned a great deal, but I came to understand the values he most prized: fairness and justice, reason and tolerance, honesty and integrity, friendship and family.
My feelings about Harry are dominated by one all-encompassing sense. Harry was kind, decent, understanding, and entirely fair-minded. Simply put, he was a fine and good person. While his professional achievements merited my deepest respect, his personal qualities commanded my highest admiration. I miss his welcoming smile, his conversation, and his inspiration. I miss his friendship.
The NYLS community mourns the loss of Professor Donald H. Zeigler, one of the School’s most revered and accomplished professors, who passed away on October 9, 2011. Professor Zeigler joined the faculty in 1984 and taught core courses in evidence, civil procedure, and federal courts for more than 25 years. He was also the Co-director of the School’s Center for Professional Values and Practice.
Professor Zeigler’s teaching style was marked by meticulous preparation for class, a collaborative in-class approach, and overwhelming respect for his students. He came to each class with a detailed “script” designed to organize the flow of thoughts for that particular lesson. The scripts included all of the questions he planned to ask students about a case, followed by leading and back-up questions. He encouraged exploration in the discussion, constantly creating as he went with ad-libbed questions sparked by students’ responses.
In an interview with New York Law School Magazine in 2008, Professor Zeigler described his exchange with students in the classroom as a “group effort—one that’s meant to be cooperative rather than competitive.” It was during these moments that Professor Zeigler felt most “in the moment, fully engaged.”
“Time passes differently,” he said. “I feel very strong. I feel creative. When class is going particularly well, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction.”
2007, the faculty asked Professor Zeigler to share his proven strategies
with his colleagues. Always a willing mentor, he happily obliged, with the
presentation in 2008 of his paper How I Teach, which outlines the approach
he perfected throughout his teaching career. In addition to this valuable
resource, Professor Zeigler helped many colleagues over the
years—both at New York Law School and Pace University—by
offering them his scripts as a preparation tool.
Professor Zeigler said one of his greatest challenges as a teacher was being prepared to walk into class every day with the energy and focus he needed to do a good job. The last five years proved especially trying for Professor Zeigler, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. But that didn’t stop him from doing everything he could to help his students succeed.
The love and respect that Professor Zeigler had for his students came across in everything he did, from his careful preparation, his openness with students, and even his dress code—always a jacket and tie. Students received the message loud and clear and responded with overwhelming admiration. Professor Zeigler was recognized by students with the “Teacher of the Year” award, given at Commencement, in 2005, 2008, and 2009.
Professor Zeigler graduated from Amherst College in 1966 and Columbia Law School in 1969. He was appointed a staff law clerk, first at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1969–70, and then at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1970–72. In 1973, he joined the New York City Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney in the Special Litigation Unit. He became the head of the unit in 1975. While at the Legal Aid Society, he helped bring a number of federal civil class action suits seeking to reform the New York City criminal justice system. In 1978, Professor Zeigler joined the faculty of Pace University School of Law, where he taught for six years and was granted tenure.
Professor Zeigler is survived by his wife, Brannon Heath; his step-children, Tyler and Bennett Stewart; his son-in-law, John Eason; his father, Earle Zeigler; his sister, Barbara Zeigler; and his nephew, Kenan Sungur. Contributions in his memory may be sent by check to NYLS’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Attention: Zeigler Memorial Fund (checks payable to New York Law School).
Note: A memorial service was held for Professor Zeigler at New York Law School on November 7, 2011. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni joined members of Don’s family to honor his memory and celebrate his life.
Remarks by Professor David
Memorial for Donald H. Zeigler | November 7, 2011 | New York Law School
To his colleagues, and I have had the good fortune to be one for over a quarter century, one of Don’s most outstanding characteristics was his generosity. That generosity manifested itself in his teaching. He prepared for class by writing what he called his “script.” In it, he would set out not only each question he would pose to the students, but also each conceivable answer and his response. Such preparation came from a source much deeper than the motto “Be Prepared,” although he did have his inner Boy Scout. No, the assiduousness of the preparation came from his desire to give everything that he could to his students—that is, from his generosity. That is why the students acknowledged him as a master teacher, and his colleagues did too.
He was profoundly generous towards us too. He not only befriended new colleagues, but offered to teach them how to teach. To those lucky enough to teach his subjects, he gave copies of his precious scripts with stage directions to go with. He was equally generous in offering to read drafts of articles and providing constructive—always constructive—comments. I can still hear the excitement bubbling up from within him as he offered suggestions on how to make our work better.
This generosity to colleagues was evident from the first time that I met him in the academy in 1983. That generosity continued even after he fell ill. Don and I went off to lunch at a nearby restaurant. I didn’t know how many more such lunches there would be. What Don wanted to talk about was our new First-Year Legal Skills Program. We had hired Anne Goldstein to design it. The design was a big challenge because it would involve 15 full-time professors giving hands-on help to the entire first-year class, and lots of long-time professors had opinions. In hearing Don talk, I saw that he believed deeply in Anne and the program, that he was on her side and the side of the students who would benefit from it, and that despite being ill, he was up to his elbows helping her.
Don’s generosity was also evident outside the academy. He loved to help. I see marks of his help in my daily life. I open the door of my house and see a flower garden, which he designed. I open my favorite cookbook, which he recommended. I pick a tomato from one of my tomato plants, which is thriving because he suggested strategies to stave off the dreaded tomato wilts.
ago, as I was preparing these remarks, I saw a dish of tomatoes on the
dining room table. This year’s tomato vines had finally succumbed to
the wilts and the cold. These were the last of their tomatoes. Today those
tomatoes are gone. What is left is the memory of Don’s generosity,
and the source from which it came—love.
Remembrance from Christine Mooney, Class of 2006
Many of the staff at the Law School did not know the
Professor Zeigler who entered our class each night. Professor Zeigler was
the Evidence instructor for the Evening Division students of the Class of
Twice a week we had the privilege of witnessing his amazing abilities. Class always began promptly as he arrived looking like he stepped out of a Brooks Brothers catalog accompanied by his suspenders. Each class meeting brought laughter and a new legal principle. The Federal Rules of Evidence could never be the same after listening to his distinctions between FR 608 and FR 609. The depth with which he immersed his entire audience in the subject matter was utterly amazing. There was never an unanswered question, nor a student for whom he did not go the extra mile. Professor Zeigler exemplified the excellence of teaching.
I am a full-time member of the faculty for the City University of New York. My memories of Professor Zeigler, his passion for the law, and his unwavering ability to make our class the best place to be, make me want to be the same teacher for my students today. Professor Zeigler taught us to embrace all aspects of the law, most importantly, the manner in which you teach others the law!
His presence will be deeply missed, but his guiding principles will live on through the many students whose lives he touched at New York Law School.