September 24, 2004

Former Law School Dean Dies at Age 63

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Lee E. Teitelbaum, former Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School, died this past Wednesday at the age of 63 in Utah after a battle against cancer.

Serving as dean from 1999 to 2003, Teitelbaum left the Law School after improving it both financially and academically. According to a Cornell News Service release, the Law School prospered during his tenure, offering more competitive faculty salaries.

In addition, Teitelbaum improved cross-disciplinary programs and teaching. He enhanced the International and Comparative Law Program by increasing communication with Asia through the establishment of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture.

During his tenure, there was a substantial increase in the admissions yield, increasing from 19 percent to 27 percent. More merit-based scholarships were established due to his successful campaigning and a $6 million addition to the endowment for scholarships. He also urged the Law School faculty to take an active role in editing the Journal of Empirical Legal Study.

“He was a real ‘student’s dean,'” said current Law School Dean Stewart Schwab. “He came in from the University of Utah Law School and gave a fresh perspective to the system.”

Schwab also described Teitelbaum as a warm and gentle person, good leader, inspiration to students. He was also interested in the involvement of law students in the public service sector. After Teitelbaum’s retirement, he and Schwab remained in frequent contact. “I will miss his wise council,” Schwab said.

Prior to serving as Cornell Law School dean, Teitelbaum was a faculty member at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah from 1986-1999 and dean from 1990-1998. He returned to Utah after leaving Cornell for “personal reasons,” according to the Cornell News Service release. A memorial service on campus honoring Teitelbaum will be held in October when his wife Herta will be present, Schwab said.

Archived article by Vanessa Hoffman
Sun Staff Writer