Francis Gates was a professor and a librarian at Columbia Law School, among other
institutions. He passed away on March 25, 2009.
Gates received both his bachelor’s degree and his master of library science degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1950s. After spending six years as a reference librarian at UC Berkeley, Gates enrolled at San Francisco Law School. He earned his J.D. in 1963, and over the next three decades, he put his legal and library science specializations to use in positions across the country.
In his first job out of law school, Gates served as both a librarian and a research attorney for the California Continuing Education of the Bar. Later, he transitioned to teaching, serving as a law professor and a librarian at the University of Southern California’s law school before coming to Columbia Law School. After six years at the Law School, Gates returned to
California and soon became the librarian for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He retired in 1991.
Throughout his career, Gates remained active in the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), serving on the organization’s executive board and as AALL president. In honor of his lengthy and prestigious career, AALL recognized him with its Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award in 2001. In an article announcing Gates as the recipient of the award, a former honoree said, “Francis was an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker long before the phrase was coined or law librarians thought about innovation.”
Gates is survived by his partner, Charles Stewart, and his son, David.