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In Celebration of Jack Friedenthal
By The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In a half century and more of dedication to legal education, Jack Friedenthal has earned the respect, appreciation, and affection of legions of jurists, teachers, and students.  It was my good fortune to encounter him first in days when we were rather young.  Jack was Developments and Supreme Court Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review 1957–1958.  I was that year a 2L at Harvard, and a novice on the Law Review.  Many of the best and brightest composing the officer ranks of the Review had an apparent self confidence, sometimes bordering on arrogance.  Jack was not of that breed.  He was wholly without airs, uncommonly natural, and naturally nice.

A notable quality that has remained with him throughout his career, Jack is an attentive listener.  By listening to and caring about others, Jack has coped successfully with many trying situations.  Examples include his stewardship of Stanford University’s Judicial Council in 1969–1970 at the height of student protests, his long-term leadership of the NCAA Infractions Committee, his service as special master settling disputes between the NFL and the Players Association.

As a procedure teacher in the 1960s and 1970s, I was a regular user of Civil Procedure, a great teaching tool first published in 1968, produced by Jack with co-authors John J. Cound and Arthur R. Miller.  The work was of such excellence, I continued to use it when I moved from Rutgers to Columbia in 1972, in preference to the “house book” co-authored by my Columbia colleagues.  Many editions later, and with co-authors John E. Sexton and Helen Hershkoff in addition to Arthur Miller, the book continues to engage both teachers and students.  As one reviewer wrote of the first edition, the book presents in careful balance “case law, practical queries into strategy and tactics, incisive probings into the heart of procedural theory, and a continuing awareness that the study of civil procedure is as much the study of societal policy as any substantive law course.”

In 1978 I spent a term at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences housed at the edge of the Stanford campus.  My husband, that term, was Jack’s colleague at the law school.  We lived in a faculty housing area a few blocks from Jack, his wife Jo Anne, and their three children.  I came to see close up what a good citizen Jack was in his Stanford years, serving on numerous University organizations and committees, longtime president of the Stanford Bookstore board of directors, instrumental in establishing the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Services Foundation and the East Palo Alto office of the San Mateo County Legal Service Program.

I was particularly impressed by Jack’s skill in the art of balanced living.  Though he was devoted to his teaching, scholarly writing, and volunteer work, he and Jo Anne were true partners at home.  Jo Anne, in those days, worked long hours as a securities lawyer at a San Francisco firm.  Jack carried a fair share of things that needed to be done in and for the family, from helping the children with their homework to cooking dinners.

Jack regarded his ten years as Dean of GW Law School as “a capstone” of his academic career.  He took a law school already recognized as good to new heights of excellence, building a strong faculty both through lateral appointments and by attracting talented young teachers.  Physical facilities were expanded on his watch and he helped to alter the complexion of both students and faculty—members of minority groups and women came to the school in increasing numbers during his tenure.

For all he has done as a law school leader, scholar, and teacher, and as a community citizen striving to improve the lot of the least advantaged, Jack merits a rousing Bravo.  I anticipate encores in the years to come.

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About This Content
Keywords: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jack Friedenthal, Tribute, Dedication
Content Type: Article
Media Type: Print
Author: The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Publish Date: November 2009
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