It is altogether fitting that The George Washington Law Review should mark Professor Jack Friedenthal’s first fifty years in law teaching with a special issue of the Review. Jack’s impact on the legal academy in general and The George Washington University Law School in particular is wide-ranging and pervasive. Of all of his contributions, there is none greater than his impact on the depth and breadth of the scholarly life at our Law School. It is therefore appropriate that our marking of Jack’s half-century in legal academia should be through a Festschrift in our Law Review.
Jack Friedenthal joined The George Washington University Law School faculty in the summer of 1988 when he became Dean. Jack was Dean at George Washington for a decade. When he stepped down as Dean in 1998, he remained at GW as a member of our full-time faculty, first as the Freda H. Alverson Professor of Law and then, since 2004, as the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law. Because others in this tribute will discuss Jack’s contributions to scholarship and legal practice in depth, I would like to devote the balance of this Essay to a different subject: Jack’s first decade at the Law School—the time in which he served so ably as our Dean.
There are many ways to take the measure of a deanship. All deans know that much of what we are able to accomplish is based on the accomplishments of our predecessors. Let me share some of the most significant achievements of the Friedenthal decade at The George Washington University Law School, achievements that in many ways still define our community today. One of Jack’s core missions as dean, and perhaps his premier focus, was the enhancement of the scholarly life of our faculty. The impact has been long-lasting. Nearly three dozen of the current members of the GW Law faculty were hired while Jack was Dean—well over a third of the present faculty. This group includes some of the most influential and prominent scholars in the legal academy today. He presided over a faculty appointments process that reached out widely to bring scholars of the first rank to GW, both lateral hires from other law faculties and talented entry-level candidates who have gone on to distinguish themselves as scholars and teachers.
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