Albert J. Rosenthal
March 17, 2010
Albert J. Rosenthal was an esteemed professor and dean at Columbia Law School. He passed away on March 17, 2010, at the age of 91.
Rosenthal graduated from Harvard Law School in 1941 and clerked for 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Calvert Magruder. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Rosenthal clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
Rosenthal spent several years working in government and private practice before joining the faculty at Columbia Law School, where he was a renowned expert on constitutional and environmental law. Rosenthal eventually rose to the position of dean at the Law School, and during his tenure, which spanned from 1979 to 1984, he worked to increase the number of female faculty members, enhance the Law School’s clinical programs, and establish centers dedicated to Asian legal scholarship.
“He was a wise, kind, and compassionate colleague and dean during my tenure at Columbia Law School,” said Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59, who was a professor at the Law School until 1980. “In all respects, he was a true gentleman whose brave heart complemented his bright mind.”
After stepping down as dean, Rosenthal continued teaching, most recently serving as the Maurice T. Moore Professor Emeritus of Law.
“At Columbia Law School, we feel [this] loss acutely,” said David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “We are fortunate to have had Al Rosenthal as such an indispensable member of our intellectual community. He was a wonderful dean, scholar, teacher, and friend.”
Rosenthal is survived by his wife, Barbara; three sons: Ned Rosenthal ’80, Tom Rosenthal ’82, and Bill Rosenthal; and 10 grandchildren.