Sunday, December 25, 2011
I was shocked and very saddened to hear of Prof. Larry Ribstein's sudden death (apparently from a stroke) on Dec. 24th. In addition to teaching Chinese law, I also teach business associations, and so was familiar with Larry's name and fame before actually meeting him when we were both visiting professors at NYU Law School in 2007-08. You can get a sense of Larry's personality by reading his voluminous writings and blog posts - his style is crystal clear and highly readable, his ideas original and important. But I needed to meet him in person to get a full sense of the man and to realize what a cool guy he was.
As I read others' remembrances, one term keeps cropping up that is one of the first things I noticed, too: intellectually honest. Larry was not afraid to follow his ideas where they led him, but never mischaracterized opposing ideas in order to refute them more easily. He had very strong ideas (in addition to deep learning) on many subjects, but I can think of few people with whom it was more fun to discuss things.
Larry's scholarly productivity is the stuff of legend - lots of it, on a wide range of topics, and all of it top-notch. I once asked him how he managed to do it. His answer: "I don't need a lot of sleep."
So broad is Larry's impact that it even reaches the field of Chinese law. He had been to China and was consulted on the drafting of (what else?) China's Partnership Law.
It is truly sad that such a terrific scholar and colleague has been lost to us.