Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In Memory of Kenney Hegland

Professor Hegland died over the weekend.  The following is courtesy of Robert Fleming:

Kenney Hegland, long-time law professor, author, and advocate for various causes, died in Tucson on May 30, 2020. He had been a major force in the lives of many law students and lawyers for a half century.

Prof. Hegland arrived in Tucson (in 1971) as a 30-year-old lawyer with four years of experience, to help run the Neighborhood Law Office. The NLO, a clinical program offered by the University of Arizona College of Law, was the brainchild of Kenney and fellow young lawyer Andy Silverman. The two of them defined law school clinical programs in Arizona for the next couple decades. The idea of standalone clinical programs was brand-new, exciting and not a little bit edgy. It was a perfect fit for his vigorous, eclectic and avant garde style.

The NLO offered a generation of law students an opportunity to better understand the mechanics of client management and the economics of law practice. It was an excellent idea, much beloved by those who went through it. Of course it couldn’t last.

But Prof. Hegland did. He moved into the academic arena with gusto. He wrote extensively – his writing credits include sole or joint authorship of two dozen books and dozens of articles. His interests were wide – from legal clinics, to law-related education for high school students, to mental health issues to aging and the law. In fact, that last interest blossomed into our continuing collaboration, beginning in about 2005.

I had often said that Kenney Hegland was one of the most interesting and inspiring teachers I never took a class from. Working with him for the last fifteen years has deepened that belief. He was driven. He was remarkably funny and literate to an extent that helped me maintain my humility. He was acerbic, and affectionate, and always looking for a new way to help other people. He would have been perfectly okay with getting rich while offering help, but the help was more important than the riches.

Kenney and I wrote three books together (one of them twice). We had vigorous discussions on many issues – from the significance of living wills (he called them “Suggestions, Not Demands” in an article in the Arizona Attorney in 2004) to the utility of YouTube videos (he created one, ironically, on hospice care earlier this year – see www.GoGentle.org).

But here’s the thing I’ll always remember best about Kenney: he didn’t think the study of law should be about reading cases, diagramming holdings and annotating casebooks. Students in his elder law seminar at the UofA were required to visit a senior center, or talk with patients in a local nursing home, or ride along with Meals-on-Wheels providers. They were also given novels to read and discuss, or topical movies to watch. He wanted them to learn about humanity while studying the law.

Kenney’s favorite class, which he taught for many years: Law & Humanities. What an opportunity for him! It helped him focus on a half dozen pieces of literature with a legal tinge – but seldom more than a passing reference to the law. And it gave him another reason to read voraciously and discuss intellectually – with co-presenters, local attorneys he drafted into co-teaching, and students who must not have known what was about to hit them.

Kenney’s wife, retired Judge Barbara Sattler, wrote a few books herself, including two novels focused on legal issues (“Dog Days” in 2013, and “Behind the Robe” in 2019). Not to be outdone, Kenney tried his hand at the genre, as well – his 2014 novel “Law Prof” was about – well, you can guess.

Prof. Hegland leaves behind his wife Barbara and four children. He was immensely proud of all of them, and truly enjoyed a late-life opportunity to practice law in connection with one. He also leaves a legacy of nearly half a century of law students, most of whom are likely to say that he was one of the most energized, inspiring and humane teachers they ever had.

Thank you Professor Hegland. You will be remembered.


Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink


Post a comment