Archives For Larry Ribstein

Usha Rodrigues has a characteristically delightful and poignant remembrance of Larry up over at Conglomerate:

Finally, the section is done.  And it’s stronger and richer than it was just 24 hours ago.  I send my last email at 4:07.  It reads: “You’re hilarious.  And a treasure. Thanks again, U”

On a Saturday afternoon.  For a junior colleague.  At another institution.  Even as it was happening, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.  Larry was smart, he was blunt, he was quick, he was generous.  Each quality is rare taken individually; together, they are unheard of.

And this exchange with Larry is typical — and priceless:

After all the hype and Oscar drama, I finally saw Avatar when it came out on DVD.  I was not impressed.  This manipulative simplistic story almost won Best Picture?  Really? I emailed Larry to ask what he thought.  His reply was terse: “I wouldn’t see Avatar unless strapped to a seat and threatened with torture.”

As she concludes, summarizing well what we all feel:

God, I’ll miss you, Larry.  We all will.

[Robert Chang-hsien Tsai (Assistant Professor, Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University) Taiwan asked us to post this remembrance, and we are glad to do so]

I’ve been deeply saddened since I heard of the heartbreaking news about Larry. I had the privilege to be advised by Larry along my intellectual journey when studying in the US. Larry has set an example of what it means to be a passionate researcher and an enthusiastic educator, which will always remind me of how to be a professor in my lifetime.

My admiration for Larry can be traced back to when I was writing my master thesis at National Taiwan University in 2003. Reading his works, I was amazed by his thorough and original reasoning and hoped I could meet and learn from him someday. Years later, when I was applying for an LLM program in the US, NYU became my first choice because Larry would be visiting there at the same time. Luckily, I could keep learning from him in person during the JSD program at UIUC. Within the whole three-year mentoring process and even until recently, Larry generously spent his time providing constructive and timely feedback whenever I needed. On countless occasions, his broad knowledge and astute observations on law and the global market provided me with the kinds of insight that I needed to find a fruitful direction. His encouragement and confidence in me sustained me through difficult times and I will definitely draw on them as I meet the challenges to come.

No doubt Larry’s scholarship will keep influencing me in my lifetime. As his JSD advisee in the Chinese world, I’ll try my best to make his scholarship remembered.

My deepest thoughts are with Ann, Sarah and Susanna for remembering Larry, my unforgotten mentor.

Larry Ribstein, Philosopher

totmauthor —  1 January 2012

[Nelson Lund asked that TOTM publish this post in Larry Ribstein’s honor and we are very pleased to do so on his behalf]

Everyone who knew Larry Ribstein realized that he was very smart, very tough, and very hard working. Less well appreciated was his absolutely uncompromising commitment to the pursuit of the truth. Surprisingly, perhaps, this is a very rare quality among legal academics. It is the mark of a philosopher, by which I emphatically do not mean a professor of philosophy.

During countless conversations over a distressingly short period of twenty years, I knew that I could count on Larry to correct any lazy or thoughtless comment I made, just as I knew he would instantly recognize any useful insight I might happen upon. If we all have our intellectual biases and unjustified presuppositions, as I suppose we do, Larry was as aggressive as anyone I’ve known in resisting such barriers to the truth within himself. In that sense, he was far more tough on himself than he was on those of us who were fortunate to have his help in our own intellectual pursuits.

I do have one regret about my friendship with Larry, which is that I have only dabbled in the fields where he was a giant. Had I worked seriously in the areas on which he focused, or had he given more attention to the subjects that occupy most of my attention, I would have a much better understanding of many things. His death has made my life poorer, as it has the world in which he lived.