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Schwartz, Law School Icon, Dies at 89
By Larry Teitelbaum

Louis B. Schwartz
Louis B. Schwartz W'32 L'35

Louis B. Schwartz, a memorable professor, formidable scholar and larger-than-life personality who left an indelible mark on Penn Law School, died last January in San Francisco. He was 89.

A Penn professor from 1946 to 1983, Mr. Schwartz led the faculty’s rise to prominence and influenced legions of students. “Lou was special, said Curtis R.Reitz, the Algernon Sydney Biddle Professor of Law at Penn who was a student and colleague of Schwartz’. “He was an anchor on this faculty. He was a real presence. (He had) great vitality, great intellectual energy, (and was) a person who really enjoyed the whole process of law.”

A true Renaissance man, Schwartz was accomplished in both criminal and anti-trust law. He also anticipated the importance of cross-disciplinary studies, drawing on economics in his teachings and writings. In recognition of his scholarship, the university appointed him Benjamin Franklin and University Professor of Law, a rare honor that entitled Schwartz to teach in any department.

“He was a model of the multidisciplinary and innovative scholar,” said Robert A. Gorman, Kenneth Gemmill Professor of Law Emeritus. “His work touched upon a variety of fields – not only anti-trust regulations of industry, but he was a pioneer in the area of intellectual property.”

Indeed, Schwartz’ influence went beyond the walls of Penn. He made lasting contributions on a national scale. One such contribution is the Model Penal Code, adopted by the American Law Institute in 1962. Schwartz co-authored the Code, which had an unparalleled impact on state criminal laws. Roughly forty states still rely on its provisions.

The Model Penal Code imposed order on what had been ad hoc laws administered haphazardly by states. It drew sharp distinctions between crimes, offering clear definitions and equally clear sanctions, giving judges, lawyers and jurors a basis for assessing criminal liability.

“It was really one of the intellectual triumphs in criminal law,” said Kevin Reitz, L’82 a law professor at the University of Colorado who is working on revisions to the Model Penal Code. “I think it’s fair to say that in the field of criminal law reform in the 20th century, there’s no other product that had the same impact.”

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