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Former Cornell law dean Lee Teitelbaum dies

Lee E. Teitelbaum, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell University Law School from 1999 to 2003, died Sept. 22 at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, after a battle with cancer. He was 63.

Cornell Law School prospered financially under Teitelbaum's tenure, with faculty salaries becoming more competitive with peer schools, an expanded International and Comparative Law Program, more cross-disciplinary teaching and scholarship, a successful campaign to establish merit-based scholarships and enhance student recruitment, and renovated classrooms to incorporate new technologies.

When he announced his resignation as dean, he said, "I will always be grateful beyond words for my time at Cornell and for the opportunity to serve as dean of this unique, and uniquely great, law school."

"As dean of the Cornell Law School, Lee Teitelbaum brought exceptional leadership to both the school and the university," said Cornell President Jeffrey S. Lehman. "We are indebted to him for making the Law School's programs of teaching and scholarship more international and interdisciplinary and for forging connections with the rest of the university that continue to prosper today. The Cornell community mourns his loss."

"Everyone who met Lee commented individually on his sincere interest in people," said Stewart J. Schwab, the current Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Law School. "Students surrounded him in the Purcell Courtyard on a daily basis, and he quickly established a rapport with a wide variety of alumni, young and old, near and far. My colleagues and I have missed him enormously this past year. The entire national legal community has lost one of its most prominent legal members."

"I had the privilege of working on a daily basis with Lee during his four years as dean," said Cornell vice provost, and former law school vice dean, John Siliciano. "I was able to observe up close what was apparent to all of us -- his tireless and unfailing dedication to the school and its students, alumni and faculty, his graciousness and good humor, his love of teaching and his deep commitment to legal education and the law. He was an excellent dean and a good friend, and I, along with many others, will miss him greatly."

Teitelbaum was born in 1941 in New Orleans. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College in 1963 and a 1966 graduate of Harvard Law School, he later earned an LL.M. from Northwestern University Law School, which he attended on a Ford Foundation fellowship.

Before joining Cornell Law School's faculty and assuming its deanship, Teitelbaum was the dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah from 1990 to 1998 and a law faculty member there from 1986 until 1999. He left Cornell in 2004, returning to Utah with his family and rejoining the Utah law school faculty.

A noted specialist in family law and a prolific scholar, Teitelbaum wrote three books on juvenile courts, a casebook on family law and articles on the sociology of the law and legal history, juvenile law, family law, evidence and professional ethics.

Prior to his time at Cornell, he also held faculty positions at the University of North Dakota, Binghamton University, the University of New Mexico and Indiana University-Bloomington.

He served on the board of editors for the Journal of Legal Education, the Law and Society Review and Law and Policy. He was active in legal education and was a member of the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools and a trustee of the Law School Admission Council.

He is survived by his wife, Herta, son, Peter, and sister, Ann Foltz. Donations can be made in his memory to the Lee E. Teitelbaum Scholarship Fund at Cornell Law School, Myron Taylor Hall, room 263, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853. A memorial service on campus is planned for a later date. For information, contact Sandra Most at 255-3539 or spm35@cornell.edu .

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