Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Memoriam: Keith Aoki

The late Keith Aoki touched many lives with his creativity and generosity.  Here and here I am posting two memorials by Professor Hari Osofsky (Minnesota). Hari tells me that she wanted to honor Keith and encourage people to follow his example by treating one another better. Here are two passages from the memorials:

 While it would be difficult to overstate the intellectual debt that I owe Keith and I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the tremendous insights of his written work and on his scholarly legacy, what I value most about Keith and miss most about him was his capacity to be there for me and others when they are most vulnerable. He had this unique capacity to lift people up and make people find the best inside themselves, and a knack for knowing when they needed it most. Keith was there for me during my hardest moments over the last several years, as a friend and mentor, and I would not be where or who I am without him.

One of the things that makes people so vulnerable as they go through the legal academy is that there is a sense in which our colleagues are not just judging our work, but judging us. In each of our institutions, right now, there are students, staff, and faculty who feel vulnerable, who feel like they cannot be public about their vulnerability for fear of being judged, and who feel lonely and afraid. It is hard to reach out when you feel that way. And the world tends to surround us with support and affirmation more easily in our less vulnerable moments. Keith knew that and was always there to lend a hand.



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