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Ed Brunet Tribute

  • Ed BrunetRemembering Ed Brunet

    Ed Brunet, beloved Henry J. Casey Professor of Law Emeritus at Lewis & Clark Law School, passed away October 12, 2018.

    Here are stories from those who were touched by Ed in some way during his tenure at the law school. If you would like to share your story, please enter it in this form, and we’ll add it to this tribute page.

    wine at sunset


    “I will never miss law school, but I will ALWAYS miss Ed Brunet. He was a truly lovely person who deeply cared about his students. I had a very rough 1L, and he was my savior. I came to law school to do crim and civil rights and had little interest in business law, but Civ Pro was my favorite class because of his teaching. I also took Anti-Trust as a 3L, just so I could have him as a professor one more time. Ed supported me, encouraged me, and made me feel like I could make it through. I will never forget his kindness. I feel sorry for those who never got to have him as a professor.” Diana Wiener ’04 JD ’09

    Ed was such a good friend. In college we spent a lot of time together. There he introduced me to opera and other forms of classical music, something that has been a passion of mine ever since. We kept up through the years, visiting each other, playing golf, meeting each year at the law teachers hiring conference in Washington. I last saw Ed at the US Open in Tacoma in 2015. His intelligence, his sense of humor, his generosity made him special.  –Vincent Blasi

    We always said civ pro was with “fast Eddie, buckle your seat belt and don’t blink or you’ll miss really important stuff!” At the end of class there was a collective “whew!”. Everyone had a ton of respect for Ed, not to mention we all really liked him as a nice guy, approachable, available, interested in his students, etc. Great professor! What an asset he was to L&C! He will be missed by many! ”– Cindy Younkin ’89

    “Thanks so much for this perfect way to honor and remember Prof. Brunet. I thought I’d send this little remembrance: I read the recent news that the law school will be offering an Energy, Innovation and Sustainability certificate program.  Folks should know that in his early years at L&C (in the 1970s), Ed taught a course that leads on a direct path to this new certificate offering.  The course was called “Regulated Industries”  That was back before the deregulation of the electric utility industry, when power was provided by a monopoly entity, a “public utility”.  Because of the lack of competition (please do a symposium on whether there is actual competition today, but I digress), the notion then was that energy utilities were “natural monopolies”, so in return for being granted monopoly status  in a territory, the return on investment for that business entity would be set via regulation, by a public utility commission, acting to “protect the public interest”.  That regulatory construct was the law applicable to energy in the 1970s and  into the 1990s.  Ed exposed us to that law of the day, but also the rationale for the prevailing approach, and how and why that could shift if the industry itself evolved. That Regulated Industries course provided a solid grounding in the then-present, but also planted the seeds for contemplating where this all could head, for  those of us who would usher in the new approaches and the new law governing those approaches in the 1990s to the present.  We can hope the new certificate program will do what Professor Brunet did:  explain what the current construct is, as well as how we got here, and how that path might suggest further evolution, which in turn will need a legal construct to keep up with the accelerating innovation underway.  I’ll be lifting my glass to Ed along with all of you.”  – Al Larsen ’77

    “Ed Brunet was a fine teacher and fine man.  I was one of his early students. Fall of 1972, first semester, civil procedure was one of his first outings in front of the student gaggle. He had just come from a large firm in Chicago, as I recall, and he seemed as nervous as we. He launched right into Pennoyer v Neff. The concept of void ab initio stuck in my head like glue.

    Ten years later I was practicing law in Sisters. Although my forte was civil litigation, Judge Edmonds asked me to defend a drug case in which the accused, having been evicted from her rented home for non-payment, left behind a huge stash of controlled substances in the kitchen cupboard – a Class A felony worth. The landlord had cruised through the home accompanied by the sheriff and armed with his FED judgment, and together they found the goods. Dead-bang winner, or so the DA thought.  I reviewed the FED file and discovered that although District Judge Thalhofer had defaulted the tenant for non-appearance at trial and had found for the landlord, the tenant had never been served! Bingo!

    My motion to suppress was supported by the shortest brief I ever wrote, about, oh, ten words plus the citation to Pennoyer. Thanks to what Prof Ed Brunet had taught me right from the get-go, Judge Edmonds had no trouble allowing my motion. Next case!”  – Donald Owen Costello ’76, Chief Judge, Coquille Indian Tribe

    “When I first came to the law school in 2011, Ed generously allowed me to sit in on one of his classes … and then he called on me! It was a great treat to witness Ed teach, and I benefitted enormously from his advice in my first few years at Lewis & Clark. I also benefited from the extensive and thoughtful comments he provided on the paper that grew out of my job talk, as well as his periodic refrain thereafter of “what are you working on?” Knowing that Ed might ask that question gave me an extra incentive to have a good answer, even if I could not match the inexhaustible range of ideas he seemed to be working through at any given time. I will always be grateful to Ed for warmly welcoming me into the law school community and being such a supportive colleague, and I will miss him.” - Professor Jim Oleske

    “Helen and I visited Ed just a couple of days before he developed the serious infection that led to his death. When we visited him, he was in good spirits and seemed to be doing reasonably well, so we are still stunned at the sudden sad turn of events. Everyone who knew Ed remembers his energy, enthusiasm, prodigious talent as a teacher and scholar, his loyalty to the school, and his wonderful collegiality. His intellectual prowess, productivity, and acute memory were a source of amazement and inspiration, and his kind friendliness earned him widespread popularity.

    Quite apart from this, Helen and I were the beneficiaries of his close friendship for 40 years. Ed was on the appointments committee that hired me, and immediately became a mentor, helping me to navigate the unfamiliar world of American legal academia, and providing unstinting encouragement, support, and wise advice.  We spent many happy times together through the years, both at the school and on social occasions.  Although I never shared his love of wine, we did have in common an appreciation of theater and opera (not necessarily Wagner) and enjoyed many performances together. His passing has left a big gap in our lives, both professionally and personally, and we miss him very much.”  - Professor Brian Blum

    Many years after I graduated, I was going through a horrible divorce and was so lost. I ran into Professor Brunet near Uptown over a Christmas holiday. It was pouring down rain and I was so sad. He saw me, remembered my name, and stood in the pouring rain and just talked to me until I smiled. Such a selfless, amazing human being.  I adored him very much.”   - Lana Hayes ’93

    “… I loved my classes with Ed Brunet — never thought I would be such a fan of Antitrust!”   - Ginny Ross ’90, Attorney

    “… I liked and respected Ed quite a lot. He was very generous of his time, and helped me begin to understand what the law is about. Thanks in large part to Ed, I became (and remain) a strong believer in the process of the law as one of its chief benefits for society.

    I have long enjoyed both a good glass of wine and classical music. I will toast Ed when I am at SSO next week hearing Beethoven.”     - Scott M. Missall ’84

    “He was a great law professor and a delightful individual. I had the pleasure of seeing him again about ten years after I graduated when he made a trip to Los Angeles, and we met in a small group. He instilled in us the importance of being prepared and professional, not just the rules of civil procedure. His wit was always appreciated.”     - Laura Dewey ’82

    “I, too, will miss the celebration because I am in DC taking care of my grandchildren. When I started at Lewis & Clark in 1982, I took two classes from Ed - Civil Procedure and Administrative Law. Those were the days when he was known as Fast Eddie. I remember attending all his classes with a mixture of terror and awe - terror that I might be called on - and awe at the amount of information he imparted in a class session. When I began teaching at L&C he became a mentor who definitely helped me through my first year of teaching. I am so sorry that generations of future students will not be able to enjoy and be enriched by his classes. He was one of a kind!” - Professor Toni Berres-Paul

    “Ed always had that boundless energy that earned him the “fast Eddie” sobriquet.  It was infectious.  He worked hard at the craft he loved.  Ed was an inspiring and challenging teacher to generations of devoted students, and a dedicated scholar.  He was curious and busy, but always found time to talk, for lunch, and to help with any law school project.  He remembered and kept in touch with his former students like few others, because he cared so much about them.  Ed enjoyed being a mentor for young graduates and new faculty members.  I don’t think he ever hesitated to read and comment on a colleague’s draft, or turned down a request to help out.  He never hesitated to tell me what he thought, even when he thought I was wrong, but he was always encouraging.  He was a friend!  Yes, he knew and loved wine and travel.  He was also the best Northwestern College football fan I ever knew (in fact the only one–Ed would laugh at that).  He would go to extreme lengths to watch their games, even tolerating the food at the various sketchy and usually temporary eateries with TV’s that popped in and out of locations on Macadam, and other venues not too far from the law school, as long as they were willing to put on the Northwestern game. Ed was so important for the law school, meant so much to the lives and careers of so many people, and was a good friend.  I will miss him!” - Former Dean Steve Kanter

    “When I think of Ed, I think of good wine (he used to come to my husband’s restaurant to drink wine/he was impressed with the wine list), writing (he often walked the Lawyering hallway after one of his classes in Wood Hall just to talk about writing or ask a Q about writing), and teaching (he had a real passion for teaching our students–I loved how excited he was about teaching and how much joy it brought him and the students loved him so).” - Professor Aliza Kaplan 

    “When I arrived at L&C in 1973, Ed was an experienced professor of a full year.  He gave me various bits of advice, notably on the grading of exams.  He advised creating a point system (in his case the points sometimes approached 500) to be used in assessing the exams.  The purpose, he said, was to make it possible to explain differences in grades in an objective way.  I never had the discipline to adopt his system, but thought it sage advise nonetheless.  Early in my first year, Ed and June invited me and my wife to dinner at their place on Southwest Broadway.  Ed gave very explicit, and Ed-like directions.  “Take I-5 north, exit at [I don’t recall], take a clearly illegal left had turn onto Broadway Drive, and come to our address.”   Ed and I co-taught a seminar on something relating to natural resources law and economics in the jury room in old Classroom 1.  It was a tight space with low ceilings and room for perhaps ten students.  My most vivid recollection was Ed literally leaping from his chair to the blackboard at irregular intervals during the class.  Of course I also recall is powerful intellect.  Ed played on the faculty basketball team in the B league until he tore up his knee on a rebound.  He also bowled with his students and was awarded a truly ugly bowling shirt.  As as been noted by others, Ed was the go-to wine expert on the faculty, which proved very useful when Leslie and I were hosting people at our home.  But my clearest memory of Ed was during my time as dean.  He was always a good source of advice, but on one occasion Ed behaved badly (in my opinion) over a personnel matter.  I stomped into his office and gave him a piece of my mind, not really giving him an opportunity to respond.  The next morning he appeared in my office and apologized.  His willingness to do so cemented my lifelong respect for a good and talented man.  I am truly sorry to miss the celebration of his life and many contributions to our law school.”                                                                                                                    - Former Dean Jim Huffman

    “Ed was a key figure in taking Lewis & Clark from a spectacular teaching law school to a place in which serious scholarship was also done.  He had a Levenson or two, which he cherished, but he strove to add a body of writing that would make a mark nationally.  Ed was a tireless cheerleader and mentor for younger members of the faculty, including me, and his take on faculty politics was always refreshing.  Over the years, he and I exchanged views on all sorts of subjects, from the very public to the very private.  We shared many laughs and a few knowing silences.  He was like a slightly older brother, and when illness forced him to leave the law school, it was a sad day.  He left a hole that can’t be filled.

    I will put on the Yo-Yo Ma “odds and evens” after class tomorrow night and drink a glass of fine Washington merlot in Ed’s honor.  Maybe a Januik.  Not a California merlot – as Ed would tell you, it’s overpriced and not as good.”                                                                                                                           - Professor Jack Bogdanski

    “Some of my fondest memories of Ed are from events, where his graciousness, joy, and sense of humor shone. Back in the day we had something called the Ringside Club, made up of faculty who donated a certain amount to the law school; we would get together and celebrate the wonderful advances LC Law was making, and Ed would give us the benefit of his vast wine wisdom. I also particularly remember an evening in a small restaurant in Washington D.C., after a long day of back-to-back faculty interviews, where Ed’s bonhomie and, yes, wine wisdom, turned what could have been a gripe session into a party. Ed was a wonderful colleague, and I will continue to miss him for a long time.” - Professor Susan Mandiberg

    “Ed Brunet was my first year civil procedure professor in 1975.  I was never an academic but he managed to make what I thought would be a very dry subject interesting, and, no doubt to our mutual surprise, he actually managed to teach me a few things.  He will always be my most memorable professor, and I was saddened to learn of his passing.  I remember him as not only demanding but also having a sense of humor.  As I started to write this, several stories came to mind.  Two stand out the most.  One of them involving the movie, Wizard of Oz.

    I don’t remember how it came up, but for some reason Ed had made it known early in the year that he was a big fan of the Wizard of Oz.  One night, the movie started to show on TV while I was at a friend’s place.  We figured it would be fun to try to reach Ed at home to let him know it was on.  Using the technology of the time, we called Directory Assistance, got his home number, and managed to reach him.  His immediate reaction was to thank us and to excitedly ask how far along the movie was.  He was pleased to hear he had not missed much, and rushed off to watch it.

    The other story involves Ed conspiring with my father.  In addition to being anything but a star student, I also struggled with getting to early morning classes on time.  Ed’s former students from that era will recall that he had little patience with people being unprepared - or late to class.  One morning I arrived late, snuck in through the back door and found a seat in the next to last row.  I thought I had entered unnoticed.  A minute or two later, Ed abruptly stopped, and walked out, leaving the class puzzled over what had upset him this time.  He returned a minute later to continue as if nothing had happened. 

    When class ended, and while I was packing up my things, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned around and there was my father reveling in the surprise.  Without telling me, he had decided to fly up from California to visit me.  Before doing so, he called the school to find out my class schedule.  This being well before our current privacy laws, he got the requested information, including that Ed was my morning professor.  He called Ed, who of course welcomed him to surprise me at the door to the classroom and to sit in on the class.  My tardiness and back door entry put a kink into the plan.  Ed rolled with it, as did my father.

    The fact that I never engaged in civil litigation but instead went into criminal defense should not be seen as a reflection on Ed’s teaching.  And, if memory serves, Ed was pleased with my choice.”    - Philip A. Lewis ’78

    “Like many others, Ed hired me, as Chair of the Appointments Committee in the late 1970s.  We ought to have a plaque in the law school with the “Ed Brunet tree of LC teachers,” like they do for baseball managers.  It would have to be a big plaque.  He may have made at least as large a mark on the law school through his Appointments work as through his teaching.

    Ed was also a first-rate scholar for nearly five decades. Moreover, he was a generous reviewer and without a doubt the most interested colleague in your work, always making inquires about what you were up to.  Looking back, I think his inquiries probably made me more productive, just so I’d have something to say in response to his persistent (but friendly) questions.  He always seemed quite interested, even in the most obscure topics (of which I had many), a trait which probably helped make him the great teacher he was.  He was interested in so many things.

    Ed was reputed to be a great basketball player, but he had torn up his knee by the time the faculty basketball team won 5 B-league championships in the 1980s.  Nevertheless, he and Doug Newell (who did play for the team) became outstanding recruiters, and we never spoke about what sort of inducements they may have offered to the temporary “faculty” who played for the team.

    You were always happy when Ed came by your office to catch up.  He had an infectious enthusiasm that stayed with you after he left.  I have missed those encounters with Fast Eddie in last few years but am grateful that I got to experience them for as long as I did.”  -   Professor Michael Blumm

    “I was extremely privileged to have been a co-author with Ed on an arbitration book (also with Dick Speidel and Steve Ware).  I experienced first-hand Ed’s intelligence, generosity, and sense of humor.  Ed took the leading role on coming up with the idea for the book, working with the publisher, and helping us fit all of our disparate views together into a single book.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Ed and am very sad that he is gone.”   - Jean Sternlight,  Saltman Professor of Law & Director Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution,  William S. Boyd School of Law UNLV.

    “Ed was a kind and generous person and a scholar excited about ideas.   He will be missed.”   -  Professor Robert G. Bone,  The University of Texas School of Law

    “I join the many others expressing admiration of Ed.  Except for Charles Alan Wright, I don’t think there’s anyone else who had a chair named after him.  And he’s been featured in our Complex Litigation book since the first edition in 1985 – a third of a century ago.

    I knew about his progressive disease from way back, and was constantly amazed by his ability to cope with it with grace.” - Professor Richard Marcus, UC Hastings

    “Ed was a wonderful and supportive colleague.”  Professor Amanda Frost, American University Washington College of Law

    Ed was a lovely man. He battled a progressive disease with courage and wit.  He was one of those rare individuals who made those around him better – better scholars and better people.”  - Professor Steve Burbank, UPenn Law

    “Ed was a model of how we should be in our profession – always interested in others’ work, contributing, and encouraging.  Ed was a wonderful man and mentor.  He was so nice to me when I started in the profession 35 years ago and through the years.  He visited with us here at Emory for an entire year in the early 2000s, and I got to know him better.  His civil procedure expertise was excelled only by his knowledge of baseball.”  -  Richard D. Freer,  Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law,  Emory University

    “Ed was such a kind man and role model.  He will be missed.” Beth Thornburg, Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor, SMU Dedman School of Law

    “I was terribly saddened by the news, even though I guess I knew he wasn’t doing well when he stopped replying to my email messages.

    In addition to being a first class law teacher and scholar, he was one of the nicest individuals I ever came in contact with. I will miss him; even though our contact over the years was limited, it extends back all the way to 1991, when Ed was kind enough to invite me to be the Higgins distinguished scholar in residence at Lewis & Clark, and provided the basis for what I considered a strong friendship and mutual respect.

    As silly as it probably sounds, my first thought when I read your message–after the overwhelming sadness–was to think how much he would have enjoyed discussing Northwestern’s dramatic comeback overtime victory yesterday over Nebraska. He was one of the most intelligent, informed and enthusiastic Northwestern Wildcat supporters I have ever met. We bonded over it over the years, and back in the late ’90s even had the chance to attend a Northwestern game together. He knew more about Northwestern football than virtually anyone I know, and he would have loved to talk about what happened yesterday.

    Unfortunately, you and I have never met in person, but Ed couldn’t stop telling me what a wonderful person and scholar you are. Your work on the summary judgment book only confirms Ed’s glowing comments. That makes me so happy that you hold the chair that bears his name, and that he knew about this before his passing.”  – Professor Marty Redish, Northwestern Law School


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