Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Short Tribute to Larry Ribstein

I was shocked to learn by way of Larry Solum's blog post that my friend and co-author, Larry Ribstein, has passed away.  My condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and intellectual sparring partners.

6a00d8341bf68d53ef015438d3a57d970c-320wiPardon my feeble attempt at trying to come to terms publicly with the news that someone with whom I was trading e-mails a couple days ago about a new edition of our book is gone.  Larry Ribstein was, in a word, inimitable.  We were professional but not intimate friends and colleagues. In my dealings with him as a co-author, he could be, simultaneously, visionary (for example, about the future of the legal profession) and stubborn, supportive and infuriating, egotistical and a little vulnerable.  I had immense respect for his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, his willingness to take a position, and the subtleties that underlay what sometimes appeared to be doctrinaire approaches (see, e.g., his work on trust).  And he worked non-stop.  I work at odd times and hours and, honestly, I can only remember a few times when an email message to him didn't provoke an almost instantaneous response.  He wasn't the easiest person in the world to work with, and a thought or a proposal was just as likely to provoke a blunt response in words not too far removed from "that's completely wrong."  Or "been there, done that in my article in the XYZ Law Review."  

More than anything, he was alive with ideas and personality and pungent observations, whether or not you liked or agreed with them (and sometimes I didn't).  I was proud of his praise and thanks when we finished our projects and proud that he was willing to have me as a writing partner.

- Jeff Lipshaw

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