Columbia Law School Honors the Legacy of Judge Jack B. Weinstein ’48

Former colleagues, clerks, students, and fellow alumni paid tribute to the life and career of the longtime Columbia Law professor who served as a U.S. District judge in the Eastern District of New York for 53 years.

On December 2, Judge Jack B. Weinstein ’48 was remembered for his empathy and humanity as a professor, mentor, and friend and hailed as a leading authority on civil procedure and practice. The online event, “Jack B. Weinstein: Pioneer in Judging and Justice,” was presented jointly by Columbia Law School and the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) at New York University School of Law. (Watch the event above.)

Older man in tie and black judge's robe
Judge Jack B. Weinstein ’48

Weinstein served as a full-time professor at Columbia Law School from 1952 to 1967, when he was appointed to the federal bench; he continued to teach Evidence at Columbia Law until 1998. When he stepped down from active service on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in 2020 at age 98, Weinstein was the longest-serving federal judge in U.S. history. He died June 15, 2021, at 99.

Following opening remarks from Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, and Trevor W. Morrison ’98, dean of NYU School of Law, 19 members of the legal community paid tribute to Weinstein. They discussed topics such as his leadership role in developing the federal rules of evidence, his innovations in court administration and integrating magistrate judges into the daily work of the District Court, and his use of special masters to oversee complex class-action settlements. The program concluded with personal remembrances from former clerks and students.

More than half of the speakers were Columbians, including Samuel Estreicher ’75, faculty co-director of IJA; Bert Huang, Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law; William B. Bonvillian CC ’69 LAW ’74, a former Weinstein clerk; Olatunde C.A. Johnson, Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law; John C. Coffee Jr., Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law; Judge Gerard E. Lynch CC ’72, LAW ’75, Paul J. Kellner Professor Emeritus of Law; Senior Judge Anita B. Brody ’58, a former student of Weinstein’s; Les Fagen ’74, a lecturer in law and former Weinstein clerk; Judge Robert D. Sack ’63, adjunct professor of law and former Weinstein student; and Tulsi E. Gaonkar ’12, a former Weinstein clerk.

Watch the event above and see the full program and list of speakers.