Louis Lowenstein, the Simon H. Rifkind Professor Emeritus of Finance and Law, was an eminent scholar, professor, and philanthropist who began his illustrious career as a corporate lawyer in New York and became one of the country’s most influential critics of financial misconduct on Wall Street. He taught courses on corporations, corporate finance, and accounting.
Lowenstein joined Columbia Law School in 1976 as a lecturer in law and joined the Law School faculty in 1980. He served as chair of the board of directors of the Columbia Law Review. His experience with the Law Review began in the early 1950s, when he was editor-in-chief of the publication while attending the Law School.
For 24 years, he practiced law in New York, specializing in corporate and securities transactions. He was a founder of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel. In 1978, he was called to serve as president of Supermarkets General Corporation. Lowenstein served as director of the Institutional Investment Project from 1988 to 1996. He also served as a member of the Panel on Audit Effectiveness, created at the request of the SEC, from 1998 to 2000. Lowenstein was an ardent believer in public interest work and served as chairman of the Coalition for the Homeless.
He clerked for Judge Stanley H. Fuld of the New York Court of Appeals. Lowenstein earned a B.S. from Columbia in 1947 and a LL.B. from the Law School in 1953.
His passing in 2009 was deeply mourned by the Law School community.