[Note: Professor Roberta Romano asked that we post her remembrance of Larry Ribstein, which we are glad to do below]
I was terribly saddened and, quite frankly, dumbfounded when I heard that Larry Ribstein had passed away. I had seen Larry approximately three weeks before when he gave a workshop at Yale and the last thought that would have crossed my mind would have been that I would be receiving such horrible news. At the time, Larry mentioned in his no-nonsense way numerous projects that he had in the works and how much he was looking forward to spending the Spring semester in New York. It is exceedingly difficult to accept that all of this will not happen.
Although life is transient, Larry’s scholarship will endure. His work on the non-corporate business form (the “uncorporation” as he put it) must be consulted by anyone venturing to work in the area, which has become one of increasing importance, as evidenced by the greater attention given to it in casebooks and law school classes, a resurgence integrally related to Larry’s writings. He also successfully arbitraged his insights on uncorporations into our understanding of corporations. To take one example, his research examining small business operators’ choice of the limited liability company form over the limited liability partnership advanced our understanding of the importance of network externalities. Of course, he was as well a preeminent scholar in corporate law. His outstanding critique of the enactment and implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxely Act is but one example. And there is much more. His keen ability to draw connections across fields led to enduring contributions in franchising law, choice of law, and the legal profession, to name just a few. I would be remiss to not mention as well his entertaining, and insightful work on Hollywood’s portrayal of business. It always seemed to me to be a shining example of the motto, Who says corporate law is not fun? Larry was an original and creative voice, and he fearlessly ventured into, and took positions on, areas which the meek would scrupulously avoid. He will be missed.