In memoriam

    Professor Robert Ferguson enriched all of our lives. The man lived by and luxuriated in words. They are important to all of us, but they had a particularly magical significance to Robert. He chose them carefully, crafted their construction, and gloried in their rhythm. He encouraged all of us—his colleagues, students, friends, and […]


Kenji Yoshino*

  “But always, always, / A man must wait the final day, and no man / Should ever be called happy before burial.” So warns the narrator of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in recounting how Cadmus founded Thebes. This dark pronouncement underscores the caprice of fate, to which Cadmus himself would fall prey. Were Robert Ferguson here, […]

  Our lives are measured by the impact we have on the lives of others. We are valued when we labor not for ourselves alone, but with an eye toward building a world better than the one we have known. By that measure, Sheila was a giant. She inspired us with her vision and bright­ened […]

  Early in 2013, in the midst of interviews conducted by several upstate bar associations reviewing candidates for a seat on the New York Court of Appeals, I sat down at lunch and met Sheila Abdus-Salaam. I was not in my element, and I’m sure she noticed that when she decided to sit next to […]


Theodore M. Shaw*

  On October 12, 2016, Jack Greenberg passed into immortality. Born on December 22, 1924, during a life spanning ninety-two years he helped to change the world around him and to make it infinitely better. I have often said that Jack Greenberg had as much influence on our country through the law as any attorney […]

In 1886, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., then a Professor at Harvard Law School, gave a talk to the students of Harvard College, which included a much-quoted line: “I say—and I say no longer with any doubt—that a man may live greatly in the law . . . . [H]e may wreak himself upon life, may drink the bitter cup […]


Steven L. Winter*

In the fall of 1982, I was planning a month-long trip to Italy with a friend. Debby Greenberg had organized a conference on comparative affirmative action at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center that summer, and Jack and Debby traveled around Italy while there. Jack invited me and my “spousal analog”—a coinage of his own that […]

  “‘Al Hill is the legal scholar’s scholar.’”   Al Hill died on December 5, 2015 at the age of 98, outlasting most of his contemporaries. Al had taken senior status when I came to Columbia Law School, and I succeeded him in the course on federal courts. The little I saw of Al left […]

Alfred Hill, a great legal scholar and one of Columbia’s treasures for nearly 50 years, died in 2015 at the age of 98. The Columbia Law Review honored him on his retirement from active teaching in 1991, but Al continued to write important work even into the twenty-first century. Having joined the Faculty in 1962, […]

  Miriam Cedarbaum had been a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for six years when I joined that court in 1992. I count myself as lucky for so many reasons, but getting to serve alongside and learn from Judge Cedarbaum falls high on that list. Judge Cedarbaum […]