Saturday, December 6, 2014

In Memoriam: Warren Schwartz (1931-2014)

An early pioneer in law and economics, Professor Schwartz taught at the University of Texas and the University of Virginia, before joining the faculty at Georgetown  University in 1979, where he spent the remainder of his career and where he was Professor Emeritus.  I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.

(Thanks to Abe Wickelgren for the information.)

UPDATE:  The Georgetown memorial notice.

UPDATE:  My colleague Lisa Bernstein writes:

Many years ago when I had the honor of teaching with Warren Schwartz at the Georgetown University School of Law, he would routinely ask me to tell him what I would say at his funeral. I would begin (for this was our ritual), "At every workshop he ever attended Warren asked the question that got to the heart of the matter." At that point he would put up his hand and say, "okay, Lisa, now turn it over to Avery (Katz), to say something pleasing and polite."  And so we would leave it. Warren was part of a rare breed of colleague who would love you, criticize you, take you dress shopping, and needle you. Indeed,
in my years since leaving Georgetown I have had many colleagues who provided some of the collegial qualities Warren exhibited, but none that had his unique mix, all tied up in a bow of humor, fire in the belly and love for the good of the profession. I will miss him greatly, as will many who knew him well. His contributions both scholarly and personal should inspire us all.

Comments are open for other remembrances, since it's clear Professor Schwartz made a deep impression on many people.

Memorial Notices | Permalink


I only overlapped with Warren for two years at Georgetown. Few people in my life have managed to make such a deep impression on me in such a short time. Warren was the definition of a true scholar, gentleman, and friend. I am very much saddened by the news of his death.

Posted by: David Weisbach | Dec 7, 2014 2:13:21 PM

Warren was a good scholar, a good person, and a great character: a rare and valued cominbation. He will be greatly missed!

Posted by: Brian Bix | Dec 7, 2014 2:47:36 PM

I can offer a slightly different perspective on Prof. Schwartz. I had the pleasure of taking a course with him when I was a student at Georgetown. The class was ConLaw. We're pretty sure it was his first time teaching the course, and so we got a law & economics perspective on the Constitution, which was fascinating. We spent most of the semester on the Interstate Commerce Clause! He could not have been kinder to a group of nervous 1Ls. He knew each of us by name—and, more importantly, cared about us. He was always quick with a joke or kind word. The class was a small section, and he had us all over his house for dinner. We nearly emptied his wine cellar. My friends and I still reminisce about our time in Prof. Schwartz's class; it was one of the highlights of my own legal education. He will be missed!

Posted by: Larry Cunningham | Dec 8, 2014 7:44:49 AM

It was my tremendous good fortune to be assigned to Warren Schwartz’s 1L Torts class at Georgetown in the fall of 1987. It is impossible to overstate the impact this had on my life. Not only did Warren introduce us to law and economics (he taught the class using Steven Shavell’s just-published Economic Analysis of Accident Law) but, more important, he provided a compelling model of what being a teacher and a scholar could mean. Warren conveyed to us even as 1Ls how iterative, incremental, and painstaking it was to work through tough conceptual problems, but he also believed it was (as he put it) the only game in town. And he showed us it could be seriously fun. I went on to take more classes with Warren, including the law and economics workshop he co-taught with Steve Salop, where I learned that no one had very good answers, but that it was nonetheless possible to ask very good questions. I would not have become a legal academic had it not been for Warren’s help and encouragement, and his feedback and humor over the years always made my work better. He was one of a kind, a true friend and invaluable colleague, and he will be greatly missed.

Posted by: Lee Fennell | Dec 8, 2014 7:44:49 AM

I met Warren through a mutual interest in Peru's informal economy, and then when we happened to visit together at another law school. Warren was a great host and friend, a happy curmudgeon, if that is possible. He was great company at workshops as well as on the tennis court. He was always on the lookout for ways to help rookies. His article on Dueling (Journal of Legal Studies 1984) remains a favorite of mine, and he deserves credit for the industry that grew up around the interesting (and practical) question of the viability of negative present value claims. I tried to learn the value of asking questions, even if wrong, from Warren. I recall one memorable workshop, where Warren was the presenter, and he was torn apart, intellectually and emotionally. The next morning he announced that he had an entirely new take on the subject, and that the workshop experience had been excellent - though perhaps we should all remember to be kinder in tone when the speaker is misguided. He set the standard for mentoring students and junior colleagues.

Posted by: Saul Levmore | Dec 8, 2014 9:28:13 AM

I had the privilege of collaborating with Warren on several projects. He was the most tenacious co-author, always asking questions, pointing out weaknesses in the argument, and insisting on getting it right. All of that was done with marvelous grace and wit. He was also a good friend and gracious host, leaving me with many memories of delightful trips to Washington and to his home. I will miss him greatly.

Posted by: Al Sykes | Dec 8, 2014 6:53:32 PM

I also had the privilege of collaborating with Warren on three papers, two of which we wrote before ever meeting in person. Warren had amazingly good economic intuition and insight, and a knack for thinking about things in a way that others had not. While I will miss him greatly, I consider myself very lucky that he reached out to me to start our collaboration, and I was able to benefit from his quick mind and generous spirit.

Posted by: Abe Wickelgren | Dec 9, 2014 6:11:07 AM

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