January 31, 2005

FYI: Farnsworth

by PG

Those who remember contracts may be interested in the e-mail Columbia Law School students received from the dean this morning: Farnsworth's Contracts
Professor Allan Farnsworth passed away this morning. Professor Farnsworth, the Alfred McCormack Professor of Law, was himself a 1952 graduate of Columbia Law. Educated also at the universities of Michigan and Yale with degrees in mathematics and physics, he was widely recognized as one of the nation's foremost authorities on contracts and commercial law. Professor Farnsworth taught generations of Columbia Law students since 1954, when he became a member of our faculty. In five decades on our faculty, Allan made an invaluable contribution, touching thousands of lives and building Columbia's reputation as a global center for the study of contracts. This is a great loss for Columbia, and for the legal academy.

CLS also recently lost Dean of Admissions James Milligan, for whom a memorial service will be held this afternoon.

UPDATE: And in the less-serious category of Internet departures from Columbia Law School, count the Blakely Blog, to which Jason Hernandez no longer will post. Thankfully he appears to be leaving it up, so it may continue to be a resource on the constitutionality of sentencing guidelines.

UPDATE II: Reminiscing about Professor Farnsworth tonight during Law Revue rehearsal, one student sighed, "I'll never look at the Restatement the same way again." Initially we thought she was being a little too flippant for good taste, but then she told the tale:

On the first day of Contracts, Prof. Farnsworth called on a 1L to discuss a case. Farnsworth asked, "So what are the authorities cited?"
1L: "There don't seem to be any, just the Restatement."
Farnsworth: "And what is the Restatement?"
1L: "Uh, we learned about it in Legal Methods, it's just a bunch of law professors getting together and writing what they think the law is."
Farnsworth: "I'm glad you think so highly of my work."

Supposedly that wretched 1L spent the rest of the semester trying to read everything that Farnsworth had ever penned, some of which was quite appropriate to the situation. Alleviating Mistakes: Reversal and Forgiveness For Flawed Perceptions; Changing Your Mind: The Law of Regretted Decisions...

UPDATE III: Monday, February 28, 2005

Memorial service for Professor E. Allan Farnsworth
2:30 p.m.
St. Paul's Chapel
Columbia University Campus

Reception (immediately following the service)
Law School Drapkin Lounge
Third floor, Jerome Greene Hall

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Interment in Arlington National Cemetery
11:00 a.m.
For directions, please go to: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/

January 31, 2005 2:08 PM | TrackBack

The news saddens me. He single-handedly got me through contracts. God bless that man, and god bless his treatment of the parole evidence rule.

Posted by: wingsandvodka at February 1, 2005 2:03 AM

Before he gets around to reading it, spell "parol" right! That's about all I remember about it, though.

Posted by: Steve at February 1, 2005 10:06 AM

True story: I went to E.A.F. once to ask him a stupid question. I prefaced the question with "Professor Farnsworth, I have a neurotic question."

To which he replied "As long as it is not an Erotic question." :-D

I got a good chuckle out of that. I didn't think seventy year old legal heavyweights were supposed to be witty.

What a good guy. Brilliant, funny, and nice, to boot. I am not ashamed to say that I cried for about two hours straight today.

Godspeed, Professor Farnsworth. May your trip to meet up with your Australian Shepherd be quick. I will miss you.

Posted by: EA at February 1, 2005 7:55 PM

Not to be confused with philo t farnsworth, inventor of the television.

Posted by: arbitraryaardvark at February 2, 2005 12:28 AM
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