Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Memoriam: John F. Sutton

I have neglected to note the passing of one of my great law professors, John Sutton. In addition to making major contributions to the development of legal ethics, he was an excellent mentor and an exemplary man. He cared about his students. Long ago, I marveled at his teaching and still haven’t been able to live up to the standard he set. Here is an excerpt from the ABA Journal’s obituary. It contains links to full obituaries. A life well lived.

John F. Sutton, a one-time dean at the University of Texas Austin School of Law, FBI special agent and drafter of the ABA's Model Code of Professional Conduct, has died at age 95.

Sutton died Friday of complications due to old age, his family told the Austin American-Statesman.

Born in Alpine, Texas, in 1918, Sutton spent time as a cattle rancher before attending the University of Texas in 1936. He earned his law degree in 1941.

Sutton served with the FBI as a special agent at the start of WWII, then served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a 1st Lt. in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps during the Korean War. He was in private practice from 1950-1957 in San Angelo, a practice he maintained with his wife Nancy Ewing, who was his law school classmate, and his father, retired Judge J. F. Sutton, according to his obituary in the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Sutton joined the law school faculty at his alma mater in 1957 and taught for 46 years until his retirement at age 85 in 2003. Sutton went on to become dean of the law school in 1979 and served as dean until 1984.

From 1965-1970, Sutton was one of the original draftsman of the ABA's Model Code of Professional Responsibility, which replaced the ABA's 1908 Canons of Ethics. Later, Sutton consulted on the drafting of the association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.


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