Spring 2000

Fall 1999

A Message from the Dean

Cities at the Horizon
Communities at the Horizon
Eastward from Our Horizon: U.S., China & Russia
Beyond the Horizon: Innovation and Technology

ILE Lecture: Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Profile: Richard E. Rosin L'68
Profile: Pamela Daley L'79
Profile: Professor Jason Johnston
Profile: Howard Chang
Profile: Robert A. Gorman
Oral Legal History Project

Snippets of History
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

Penn Law


Slipping into emeritus status this fall after 35 years on the Penn Law faculty, Robert Gorman, The Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law, will be free to laze about and revise his two casebooks; finish up the second edition of his labor law text; teach a course in copyright law; read up on history, biography, music, science and fiction; take courses in literature and history at the College; travel; do a bit of international labor arbitration; take piano lessons for a couple hours a day; read the New York Times cover to cover; and  spend more time with his wife, Caryl, a sixth-grade public school teacher, who plans to join him soon in his retired ease.  

Though none would deny Gorman the rewards of a well-earned rest, the news of his retirement has prompted accolades and remembrances from 30-plus years of former students who are now established as legal experts in their own right.  “Bob’s passion for labor law was one of the driving forces behind my becoming a labor lawyer.  His passion for people remains a benchmark for which I continue to strive,” says Jonathan A. Segal C’82, L’85, a partner at Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen.

As a Harvard undergrad (A.B. 1958, summa cum laude), Gorman started out a math major. By the time he concluded it was not really his dish, he had “stumbled into a course on American constitutional law.” He shifted to a major in government, taking tutorials with Robert McCloskey, “my patron saint and academic mentor.” A Fulbright Scholarship led him to a year at University College, Oxford, where he studied legal philosophy — “having been trained in neither law nor philosophy” — under H.L.A. Hart, the subject’s major 20th century figure. When Gorman elected to return to the U.S. to join his future wife, Caryl, Hart advised him to apply to law schools rather than extend graduate study. Gorman took his J.D. from Harvard Law in 1962, magna cum laude.

Following a clerkship with Irving Kaufman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, he was unsure if his future lay in teaching or practice but opted for what turned out to be a short stint with the Proskauer Rose firm in New York. Penn Law had approached him during his clerkship and continued to woo him at Proskauer. In addition, James Freedman, a fellow clerk at the Second Circuit (and later Penn Law dean), told Gorman he planned to join the School faculty, and Clark Byse, Gorman’s favorite teacher at Harvard Law and a former long-time Penn Law faculty member, nudged him in that direction. “I began at Penn in January of 1965,” recalls Gorman. “I have never regretted for an instant leaving practice.”

Labor law became his primary specialty through a similar combination of coincidence and “the wisdom of having no sharply fixed goals too early in life.” At Proskauer, he spent much of his time on labor cases. When he joined the faculty, Alexander Hamilton Frey, senior instructor in labor law, had recently retired, and Gorman was tapped to fill the gap. Then, while a visiting professor at Harvard Law in 1973-74, revered labor-law professor Archibald Cox — who had been on leave as Watergate special prosecutor only to fall victim to President Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre — returned with a new interest: constitutional law. He asked Gorman to take over the labor law casebook that he edited with Derek Bok, who had moved on to president of Harvard.

Gorman’s Basic Text on Labor Law: Unionization, and Collective Bargaining (1976) is the standard in its field: “People tell me that all of the lawyers in their firm’s labor law department have this book on their desk.” He has also edited two casebooks — Cases and Materials on Labor Law (with Cox, Bok & Finkin, 1996) and Copyright: Cases and Materials (with Jane Ginsburg, 1999).

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