April 30, 2014
Former Tulane Law School Dean Paul Verkuil (right), a 2014 Hall of Fame honoree, shares a laugh with 2013 inductee John Giffen Weinmann (A&S ’50, L ’52) during the April 25 luncheon.
Former Dean Paul Verkuil and his wife, Judith Rodin, joined Dean David Meyer after announcing the Paul R. Verkuil Faculty Research Fund at the April 25 Tulane Law School Hall of Fame luncheon.
Photos by Digital Roux Photography
As dean from 1978 to 1985, Paul Verkuil aggressively bolstered Tulane Law School’s national reputation by emphasizing its strengths in comparative and civil law while supporting its graduates on the national stage. Tulane had two U.S. Supreme Court Clerks (William D’Zurilla and Gail Agrawal) during his tenure.
In announcing a new endowment to support faculty scholarship, Verkuil pointed to the critical value of work like that done by Professor Emeritus A.N. Yiannopoulos and the late Professor Mitchell Franklin. Yiannopoulos is a legendary scholar who has revised many parts of the Louisiana Civil Code; Verkuil recruited him to Tulane from LSU in 1979. Franklin was known for his critical legal thought and daunting classroom performances; he and Verkuil were among seven 2014 honorees added to Tulane Law School’s Hall of Fame on April 25.
Verkuil, during his Hall of Fame induction, announced the Paul R. Verkuil Faculty Research Fund with his wife, Judith Rodin, who is president of the Rockefeller Foundation and a former University of Pennsylvania president. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust also have contributed generously to the fund. The goal is to provide additional research funding for “high-performing faculty members who present especially promising projects” and to send a resounding signal about the emphasis Tulane places on legal scholarship.
“Scholarly research is the lifeblood of any great law school, both because of its originality, which can affect legal practitioners and scholars alike, and its ability to stimulate the teaching role and enlighten the classroom,” Verkuil said.
“I am so grateful to Paul and Judy for their generosity and vision in supporting faculty scholarship,” said Tulane Law Dean David Meyer. “There really couldn’t be a more fitting gift coming from Paul, who did so much to advance Tulane’s research mission during his years as dean.”
Verkuil and Rodin both are distinguished academic scholars: He’s widely known for his administrative law expertise; she did groundbreaking research in obesity, eating disorders, aging and women’s health while on the Yale University faculty.
Verkuil left Tulane to become president of the College of William & Mary, his alma mater. He also has been dean of Cardozo Law School. He currently chairs the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency within the executive branch that’s dedicated to improving government performance.
In an April 24 lecture to faculty and guests at Tulane Law School, Verkuil outlined ACUS’s efforts to promote greater efficiency and fairness in the execution of federal policy. Drawing on his scholarly expertise in administrative law, Verkuil also explored the role of creativity and pragmatism in navigating barriers to effective implementation of policy.
The Conference, which makes recommendations to agencies based on determinations by its bipartisan Assembly of 101 government and public members, doesn’t have enforcement powers, but, Verkuil said, “We may have something better: the power of reason and the consensus judgment of peers.”