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Citing Curtis Reitz: Professor Marks 45 Years of Teaching
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And he does so with remarkable subtlety. Richard L. Bazelon L’68, a founding partner of Bazelon Less & Feldman, P.C. in Philadelphia, cites a very personal example. In Bazelon’s second year, Reitz inquired about the student’s summer plans. Had he considered applying to a law firm? Bazelon said he had no interest in private practice.

“He doesn’t say anything to me. This is typical,” Bazelon recalls. “He doesn’t tell me. He waits for me.” Later in the conversation, Bazelon asked for Reitz’s view:

Reitz: “I think you should work for a private practice this summer.”

Bazelon: “I have no interest.”

Reitz: “That’s why you should do it.”

“I realized he was right,” says Bazelon, who worked that summer at Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Levy & Kauffman and spent 14 years there before starting his own commercial litigation practice.

Inspired by Clarence Darrow and a radio show called “Famous Jury Trials,” Curtis Reitz wanted to be a lawyer from a tender age. “I never knew a living, active lawyer before I came to the Law School,” Reitz says. “I’m sure the idea of being a lawyer was very uninformed.” Born in 1929 – “I did not cause the Depression,” he has said - Reitz was raised by his father (a jeweler) and his mother (a schoolteacher) with his brother in Reading, Pennsylvania. He followed distant family footsteps and enthusiasm for Quaker football to Penn. He was one of the early disc jockeys on WXPN-FM (Penn’s radio station, student-run at the time), on the debate team, and active in the Christian Association. He received his undergraduate degree in history in 1951.

He then spent two Army years in the Korean War before returning to Penn for law school. (“I was a much better law student then I would have been if I had gone directly,” Reitz said in an oral history for Penn Law. He recommended that others do the same.)

“There was no question that he was far and away the most accomplished student in our class,” recalls Dolores K. Sloviter L’56, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Sloviter and Reitz were on the Law Review Board, and Reitz was named editor-in-chief in their third year. “A marvelous choice,” Sloviter says. He was then as he is now, says Sloviter, “very self-contained. He has a job to do, he sits down, he does it.”

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