The Bob Years

Kathleen Vanden Heuvel

It is now official: Bob Berring is retiring as of June 30, 2017.  To me this is a monumental and in some ways dreadful event.  As Bob’s friend and colleague of 35 years I am overjoyed for him. But as the Director of the Law Library it feels like an unthinkable loss to the law school, the law library, and to me. Berkeley Law without Bob Berring is some other place entirely.  It simply is not true that no one is irreplaceable.  Bob is utterly and absolutely irreplaceable.

First Encounter

I first met Bob in the summer of 1982.  I had been working in the law library for almost a year when he arrived to become Director of the Law Library.  A member of the faculty, Preble Stolz, had stepped in to the void caused by the former director’s retirement (which had been ‘in process’ for a number of years). He cared about the library, but he seemed out of his depth when it came to the day-to-day challenges of running a large, academic law library. He stayed in the Law Librarian’s office most of the time, chain smoking, only occasionally venturing into the actual library. Bob had pulled his name out of the running a year earlier after what he described as the worst recruitment effort in history (he was told how little the school would support the library or pay him and that his first order of business would be to fire staff). Bob wisely took a position as Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law at University of Washington instead.  A year later, however, Jesse Choper became dean and everything changed. When Jesse talked to Bob about coming to Berkeley he was “the soul of upbeat enthusiasm.”  He told Bob that the library was part of his plan to make the school prosper and offered him the position of Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law, with tenure. Bob accepted (to the chagrin of the librarians at UW) and the rest is history.

The reference librarians and other library staff were glad to have someone who was actually competent and trained as a law librarian in charge, but they were also nervous/skeptical, because Bob was so young (only 32 when he first arrived).  I was a Library Assistant I whose duties included not just running the library’s circulation desk, but also working as a “floater” in the law school, running the switch board, working in Admissions, Registrar’s Office, and Career Services.   Within a few weeks of taking over as director, Bob rescued me from a job that was really at least 3 full time jobs stuffed into 50% of a library job that was really a full-time job in itself.  What impressed me most was that he immediately recognized the insanity of my situation.  I didn’t have to explain or argue what should have been obvious to anyone who was paying attention. That is a quality to be treasured in everyone, but especially in one’s boss!  This innate problem solving ability spilled over into many other things as well: he saw what the problem was, figured out what needed to be done, and then he just did it.

What’s a Law Library For?

When Bob arrived at Berkeley he immediately set to work to change the culture in the law library from one primarily focused on the needs and wants of a smallish number of individual faculty to one that included, indeed centered on, law students. He had graduated from Boalt in 1974 and remembered how little he had understood “the law” when he had studied there eight years before.  And recalled that only when he started using the resources in the library and saw how law was published and arranged, did “the law” actually start to make sense.  This experience inspired him to become a law librarian, and he had already made a mark at the law libraries at University of Illinois, University of Texas at Austin, Harvard and the University of Washington.

Bob believed that the true function of a law library was to educate the faculty and students about what the law was, is, and could be. He thought that the law library should not just react to the research requests of faculty and students, it should anticipate the directions that legal scholarship will take, stimulate thought, and take researchers in directions they had not even realized were possible.  He focused on building collections and a staff that had the potential to challenge conventional thinking about a legal problem.  He understood early on that librarians’ expertise was going to be essential in an online, full text world and he encouraged all of us, even a lowly Library Assistant I such as myself, to master Lexis and Westlaw, even though at the time our students were extremely resistant to learning online research and most of the faculty would not have touched the Lexis terminal with a barge pole.

He immediately recognized that the 1951 law library’s physical space was a problem: “It’s ill-designed, too small and over the years has been poorly maintained. The heating and cooling system has a perverse sense of humor and some of the stack areas look like a maximum security correctional facility. We are trying to make incremental improvements but it’s like putting lipstick on a turkey.” But he also recognized that the law library managed to transcend these problems: “Sometimes I think of the law library as an ancient, barnacle encrusted barge, drifting down a river, superficially decrepit, but with a fantastic crew and the finest in computerized navigation equipment. Best of all the cargo (our books and other materials) is genuinely terrific.” (from Law Library Handbook)

To the library staff, used to having to fly under the radar screen or risk incurring the wrath of some of the more powerful faculty, Bob seemed like our fearless defender.  In those days there were some members of the faculty who, when they did not immediately get what they wanted or (worse) were told they could not have something they wanted, would blow up at the library staff.  I am not talking about a disagreement—this was some serious and scary rage.  Bob immediately won the hearts and minds of his staff when he let these faculty members know that yelling at his staff was not going to produce the results they wanted, so they should just cease and desist.  If they wanted to yell at someone, then they were to come to his office and yell at him. Few took him up on this challenge, but most stopped yelling at the library staff.

Then there was his defiant purchase of Innovative Interfaces library serials system when the University Librarian wanted us to throw our money at the obviously doomed UC Berkeley Library’s in-house custom system. (Typical of a Berkeley initiative, it was felt that no product that existed in the entire universe was good enough to meet our extra-special needs, so we had to build a system that could respond to every wish that anyone now or in the future might have.  Not surprisingly, the custom system eventually collapsed under its own weight).The folks in Purchasing were vehemently opposed to Bob’s plan to buy an out of the box system and told Bob that if it did not work, Bob would be responsible for paying for it himself. We liked to picture this giant computer system (in those days it took a lot of hardware to run even a small  program) ending in Bob’s garage.

He was also unafraid to use his sense of humor to gain friends and influence people. Each year he would get t-shirts with slogans for the library staff to wear.  My favorite was “The Law Library: No Rules, Only Exceptions” but “Come for the Net, Stay for the Books” was another great one. He and I did differ over the smoking carrels.  He thought we could not tell people they couldn’t smoke in the library and I thought we both could and were obligated to.  I won that one, and it turned out that the few folks who smoked were amazed that we had kept the smoking carrels open for so long.  And the people who did not smoke were grateful that they did not have to pass through a nicotine haze to get to the Lexis room.  But he taught me an important lesson: don’t make rules you can’t enforce.  So, for instance, when it became clear that it would take armies of guards to stop students from eating and drinking in the law library we took down the prohibition signs and instead instituted our “no odoriferous or  noisy food” rule that has served us well.

Bob understood that above all law libraries are communal, not individual resources, and I think that is what he loved about them. It seemed obvious to him that if we want our laws to have power and reliability, then everyone needs to be able to look at the same laws or cases or regulations being cited. This may mean being able to refer to original or authenticated documents in the law library, or it may mean working with law librarians, who even in 1982 were already figuring out how to find and authenticate illusive online sources. Bob believed that law libraries embody the imperative to create and maintain a high quality, shared body of knowledge. Academic institutions that fail to provide reliable access to authenticated and shared sources of information may still produce provocative and interesting literature, but this is not legal scholarship and should not form the basis of the law. In his years as Law Librarian he turned the law library from a haphazard, parochial collection designed primarily to serve the interests of individual faculty, into one of the world’s greatest academic libraries.

One of Bob’s first acts when he came to Berkeley was to start the Comment Book, which allowed students to communicate with Bob through his alter ego, Uncle Zeb.  They wrote their questions on one side of the page and Bob answered on the other side. Through the persona of Uncle Zeb Bob began to engage in a dialog with students, to find out what they cared about, what they wanted from their law school experience.  Given Bob’s stupendous sense of humor, the book quickly became not only a place to complain about there being too many undergrads in the law library, but a place to ask advice on one’s love life, the nature of the universe, or the best restaurants. While it was 100% OK to complain about law school in all its forms in the Comment Book, a theme that runs through is Bob/Zeb reminding students that coming to law school is a choice:

Zeb,When do I know for sure that I hate law school/am alienated from all law-like things/don’t want to be an attorney, enough to drop out and declare bankruptcy? Help me, Zeb!

You have been fooled into accepting the premise that unless you can prove otherwise you should stay in law school. The premise is the other way around. Why would any rational person ever stay here? Who wants to work 70 hour weeks and end up getting joy from bragging about how overworked you are? And who do you get to be around all the time? LAWYERS. I mean, hello. Soooo ... if you can’t stand it, save yourself while you still have a self to save. There are no guards on the towers tonight, you can escape.

His one hard and fast rule was that you could not use the book to complain about or disparage individual people and those who failed to follow this rule found the offending parts of their question blanked out and usually received a stern rebuke for ignoring the rule.  But mostly, it was just really funny:

Zeb, I always assumed that blind grading meant they weren’t allowed to read the exams.

Blind grading originally meant the grading was done in duck blinds by faculty who were shooting geese. In time some faculty preferred staying in the lodge and getting blasted. Blind drunk was deemed appropriate. The 1960s brought a new ethos to education and Trappist Monks were introduced. The monks meditate on blue books and papers and then place them into the correct grade piles. The monks never cloud their minds by reading any of them. They grade them at a higher level.

The Comment Book helped to create a place and atmosphere where students felt they could ask anything, neutral ground where the librarians truly lived by the mantra that there are no stupid questions. Bob’s message to law students was: ‘this is your law library.  We want to hear what you need and want from us. That doesn’t mean we can always give you what you ask for, but we will always listen and take your concerns seriously.  There is no reason for us to exist except to make the law school a better place and you a better lawyer.’ We all took this message seriously and still do.

Teaching research “for the purpose of acquiring experience in the use of law books.”

Long before the term “experiential learning” was in vogue Bob thought the law library should be used in the same way his hero Frederick Hicks (Law Librarian at Columbia from 1915-1927 and Yale from 1928-1945) had used it: to prepare students for the professional practice of law.  To Bob, this is why the law library existed and what law schools should be doing.  This did not mean law school should be just about skills training; but it should be about teaching students the things they needed to know in order to be outstanding attorneys and judges.  Bob’s genius was to see that legal publications were the outward sign of the legal process; if you understood how they were structured and published, you could understand how law works.  Building on Hick’s model, Bob (re)pioneered not only the law library, but the actual teaching of legal research as a subject. Although he created Advanced Legal Research while at Harvard, it was at Berkeley that the class really grew roots and became the model for ALR classes at law schools across the country. ALR is usually billed as a ‘skills” class, but Bob’s view was that it was a substantive class as well. Legal research itself was the foundation of law and the essence of what lawyers did and was worthy of study and analysis for what it revealed about the law. As a result of his efforts, hundreds of students went into their professional lives far better prepared than they would otherwise have been. They learned not just how to do research, but how to think about legal problems in context. Bob encouraged generations of students to look beneath the surface and really engage with the sources, to read the entire case, not just a small excerpt designed to illustrate a point, and perhaps most important, to try to overcome the obsession that law school had then (and still has) with cases.  He was adamant that real lawyers needed to know how to find and use laws and regulations.  No student of Bob’s left law school without knowing what the Federal Register was or what the difference between a Public Law and a codified law was. In his more than 30 years teaching ALR he built a mighty army of “Commando Legal Researchers” who have gone out into the world and showed judges, law firm partners, clients and attorneys from less fortunate schools what lawyers who were actually trained in legal research could do.

Students loved Bob’s classes from the get go. As a teacher Bob was always 100% authentic.  He put himself on the line whenever he was in the classroom, without pretense.  He never rang false, he never hid behind false personas.  In the early days of ALR, when there were fewer classes offered, Bob would fill the largest classroom in Boalt Hall. Students flocked to take the class and left knowing not only how to do research but also how to think about law and information.  It is stunning to realize that Bob won the highly-coveted UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987, only five years into his teaching career at Berkeley.  It is even more stunning that he won this award primarily based on his teaching of Advanced Legal Research and Chinese Law, two classes about which his colleagues on the Berkeley faculty had no clue. I expect that Bob’s trajectory and methods were quite baffling to many of his faculty colleagues (if they were even aware of them.)   The students, however, understood immediately.  They had never experienced anything like his energy, enthusiasm, humor, and passion in a class about legal research, or anything else for that matter.  It was intoxicating for them and for those of us who worked in the law library as well.

Long before the debate over online education, Bob was making video tapes designed to teach people how to do legal research.  In 1989 ALR student Dave Feldman (a 2L at the time, I believe) convinced Bob to make a series of video tapes and market them under the title Commando Legal Research (a phrase Bob had coined in his class).  Dave was a young and energetic entrepreneurial spirit and Bob was a great lecturer who delivered both substantive content and humor to his audience.  This was the early days of video equipment (your phone today makes better video than the equipment Bob and Dave were working with), but the videos were, nonetheless, fabulous.  To help sell the videos Feldman designed posters and a close to life sized standing cutout that depicted Bob’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body.  In the world of law librarianship, it doesn’t get much better than this!

The Fighting Librarians

While Bob’s deanship of UC Berkeley’s Library School from 1986-1989 is a story unto itself, I want to point out here that while he was dean the campus decided that not only did South Hall (home of the library school) need to be retrofitted and renovated, it also had to be taken away from the library school.  This was at a time when the program itself was under threat of being closed down, it being the lowest hanging fruit among academic disciplines.  Bob called upon students and alums of the program to protest. The Fighting Librarians managed to save the building, but ultimately not the school. (Bob details this fight in the fourth installment of his life’s story as a law librarian, called Seattle, Berkeley and the Fighting Librarians 35 LRSQ 1 (2016)). He explains why he fought to save the building and the school:

The authorities on Central Campus viewed a dean's job as one of implementing university policy. My position was that the dean was there to defend the School. Especially when the school was weak and under siege, a dean had to do what was right. The stakes in academic life are quite small when compared with the real world. If one cannot stand up for what is right in a university, one cannot do it anywhere. Admittedly the golden shield of tenure made it easier to do the right thing.

Although the library school did not survive the Chancellor’s axe, it is because the librarians and Bob fought so hard to keep it that the lovely and ancient South Hall is now the home of the iSchool, an academic program, and not administrative offices. It is ironic (or maybe just serendipitous) that the original Boalt Hall of Law (now Durant Hall), has since become home to those campus administrative offices.  The beautiful core of the 1911 building, which housed the law library until 1951 and then the East Asian Library, was gutted in the ‘renovation.’

Librarians as Rock Stars

For at least a brief time, Bob turned librarians into rock stars.  He inspired me after my first year of law school to do a joint degree in librarianship.  He made me believe that becoming a law librarian was the absolute coolest thing to do with (or without) a law degree.  In fact, I began to notice that some of the world’s greatest and most knowledgeable law librarians do not have law degrees, and yet seemed to understand the law far better than many people who had studied law in the traditional, law school way. To me, this is the best evidence that legal research is both an essential skill and a path to understanding the substantive law.  Legal research is intertwined with the nature of law and those who truly master it seem to have a deep knowledge of the law.

One of the things Bob recognized and appreciated about people who gravitate towards library work is that they are often really good at solving problems.  Unlike many people who are put in charge of things, Bob was not threatened by this.  Indeed, he was a master administrator who knew how to get the problem solvers working on critical issues that needed to be resolved. It is not surprising that that he inspired so many people to join ranks with him in the law library.   Among the librarians at Berkeley Law there are many direct connections to Bob’s influence and support. Dean Rowan and Keri Klein are also both Berkeley Law grads (Dean interned in the Law Library and Keri was a super star in ALR); Michael Levy, Marci Hoffman and Chris Tarr are graduates of Berkeley’s MLS program and took classes from Bob. Ellen Gilmore’s father was Law Librarian at Stanford and one of Bob’s mentors. Also, although not at Berkeley, Bob’s former secretary, John Adkins, went on to be the third and last joint degree holder from Berkeley Law and the School of Library and Information.  He is now the Director of the San Diego Law Library, whose motto is ‘Law Made Public’.  Bob had a big effect on all our career decisions.

Father Guido Sarducci and the Law

On the national law librarian front (yes, there is one) Bob was a super star almost from the beginning of his career. By 1985-1986 he had become president of the American Association of Law Libraries.  At the time comedian Don Novello’s character/persona, Father Guido Sarducci (the Vatican newpaper’s rock critic and gossip columnist) was a frequent host on Saturday Night Live and had had regular stints over the years as well (i.e. he was pretty famous).  Somehow Bob managed to get him to act as emcee at the closing banquet of the AALL Annual Meeting, that year held in Washington DC.  Perhaps it was because they were both from Ohio, perhaps because Novello thought Bob the Librarian was similar to his own persona as Father Guido Sarducci. Who knows?  But Bob pulled it off. Father Sarducci’s name was not on the program—he was just listed as Vatican Law Librarian.  Bob says that Novello was actually quite nervous before his surprise appearance, since playing to thousands of law librarians was a new experience for him.  He was an instant hit with about 85% of the crowd, most of whom watched SNL. The other 15% seemed baffled, at least for a while.  Perhaps they thought Sarducci was an actual priest, perhaps they were just confused and could not wrap their brains around his comedy.  I was fortunate to be there (though I was supposed to be in Berkeley studying for the bar exam, which was coming up in three weeks) and I am not sure I ever laughed as hard as I did that night.  It was the combination of the routine (which was hysterically funny) and the sur-reality of this comedian talking in character as a Catholic priest to a room of 3000 law librarians, almost none of whom knew in advance that he was going to be our speaker. No one but Bob would have thought to do this and no one but Bob would actually have done it.  It was genius.

Legal Information and the Search for Cognitive Authority

Bob was one of the most important figures in the creation of the modern research law library. He pioneered using and teaching online databases, embracing technology (because not letting students use it until they had mastered “the books” just made them think Lexis and Westlaw had secret magical powers that we were hiding from them) but always warning us that technology itself was going to transform law in ways that we might not be prepared to comprehend.  He never fell for the technology hype and knew that technology was not going to be our savior.  The more the lunatics at Wired told us “information wants to be free” the more Bob reminded us that information had no desires of its own.  At best technology would make it so we could save even more stuff and make some kinds of research easier to do, at worst it could become our enslaver, forcing us to think that we had answers when really, we were being fed information according to pre-ordained, invisible, algorithmic protocols that made saving and finding vast amounts of “information” easy, but made human understanding more difficult to attain than ever.

Under Bob’s leadership the law library really did became a place where students gathered not just to study, but also to learn how to become lawyers, how to share resources, how to use computers before the PC was even invented and how to connect (noisily, back in the 1980s and 90s) to central databases through the phone lines.  While all of this was occurring, Bob wrote about what the changes in the way legal information was delivered might mean to the development of law.  In his ground-breaking article, Legal Research and Legal Concepts: Where Form Molds Substance, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 15 (1987) he said: “Individual researchers are able to order legal doctrine as it suits their needs, but in doing so they must concentrate on narrower areas of law in order to develop the expertise and sophisticated vocabulary free text searching requires.  As a result, law is likely to atomize and specialize even further….As new generations of lawyers find themselves practicing law without the old conceptual constraints, they will take law into more positivist, specialized categories. This could be the signal for a new examination of the meaning of law in our society, or it could be the final stage in our de-evolution into plumbers. “

And in Chaos, Cyberspace and Tradition: Legal Information Transmogrified, 12 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 189 (1997) he asked the important question: “Are electronic database users aware of the preemptive decisions being made for them by the systems they are using?”  His deep suspicion (bordering on certainty) was that they were not.

The danger of the high-end products is that each step in the research process that is carried out automatically by the front-end system, is a step take away from the purview of the researcher. Each decision that is built into the system makes the human who is doing the search one level further removed from the process.  If each user of information was aware of these steps, if each user understood what was being done for her and could monitor results with a skeptical eye, the danger would not be so great.  But the whole point of these systems is to work automatically.  The whole point is to create an environment where the searcher does not have to know about those steps.  In this environment one accepts the search results as being the best available information….Most researchers do not understand how to critically evaluate search results. The emphasis from the vendors of the high-end information will be to lessen that critical evaluation, not enhance it.

Bob got it, way before anyone else did.  Much of what he expressed concern about has since come to pass. We now know that Google’s algorithm sifts information in ways that affects what we see and what we don’t see in our search results.  While proprietary algorithms promise increased efficiency and consistent application of rules, timelier decisions and better communication, they also build in discrimination, injustice, unfairness in ways that we cannot see or change. It is the algorithm, not us, that controls our searches and tailors our results to suit the prejudices and biases it has discerned from our previous searches. As Bob saw early on, we cannot solve this problem by transparency. Not only is it difficult to get access to code, and difficult to understand, but software appears to be inherently limited in its capacity to handle conceptual thinking. No amount of examining code for biases can overcome this problem. As Bob reminds us in his many articles on the subject, there is no replacement for critically evaluating results delivered by AI.  We have to remain deeply skeptical, especially when we are handed easy answers on silver platters.

Dean Bob

In my view, Bob saved the school from itself when he took over as interim dean in January, 2003.  In the wake of a devastating scandal that revealed many festering wounds and much pain and suffering, all under the close scrutiny of reporters from the SF Chronicle and the LA Times (with a smattering of NYT’s folks who were here in case it got interesting enough for an east coast audience) it seemed impossible that the law school could move forward. The students raised Bob’s name as a candidate for interim dean and he had, of course, already been a dean elsewhere on campus.  Soon the idea began to resonate with many people, as they realized how fractured and splintered the faculty had become. When I said to Bob that he was the only person who could be dean at this critical moment and that he was going to have to do it, he replied that he had as much chance of becoming dean of the law school as did his cat Louie.  But within a few days he was interim dean, effective January 1, 2003.  Although we all left for winter break feeling queasy and uncertain, when we came back it was as if a heavy pall had lifted. Bob was a great dean because he kept perspective.  All the qualities that I have detailed here, among them his fearlessness, his sense of purpose, his moral compass, his charismatic personality, and most important, his sense of humor, came together in that moment.  Perhaps the sheer, collective embarrassment and humiliation of having the school’s failures paraded on the front page of the LA and NY Times helped give Bob’s deanship an edge as well, but that would not have been sufficient to get the school back on track.  We were really and truly derailed and people were genuinely scared. Bob stayed calm and almost bemused by the collective panic that was ensuing and let us all know that we were going to get through this, we would live to tell the story, but that we had to start paying attention and fix our problems.  Immediately people stopped fighting and started cooperating. Perhaps this will go down as Bob’s first miracle in his journey to sainthood, but it did seem almost preternatural.  I say almost, because to those of us who knew Bob well is it exactly what we thought would happen.

The Essence of Bob

For those of you who do not travel in law librarian circles, I can assure you that Bob is considered to be one of the greatest law librarians of all time.  The American Association of Law Libraries gave Bob its highest honor, the Frederick Hicks award in 2003. In 2014 he received the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award and was inducted in the AALL Hall of Fame. In 2006 a symposium, "Legal Information and the Development of American Law: Further Thinking About the Thoughts of Robert C. Berring," was held in his honor here at Berkeley.As his colleague Dick Danner from Duke said on that occasion:

Few will argue with the proposition that Bob Berring of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law has been throughout his career the foremost thinker about the influences of legal information--the literature of the law--on the development of the law and legal thought in the United States. 99 Law Libr. J. 191 (2007).

The day in 2005 when Bob stepped down as Law Librarian to become “just” a member of the regular law faculty was a sad day for law librarianship, for many reasons.  Not the least of which (for me and many of my law librarian colleagues) was that Bob had given our profession a respect and a cachet that traditionally female professions rarely enjoy.  We applaud his work as a Contracts professor, delight in his extremely insightful and powerful work on Chinese law, and absolutely revel in the fact that Antonin Scalia singled out Bob’s class, “Elegance in Legal Thought and Expression,” for derision, claiming that it allows a student to “study whatever strikes his or her fancy—so long as there is a professor who has the same fancy.” Bob responded in a Bob-like manner: “What an honor to be dissed by Justice Scalia.” We recognize his skill and brilliance as an administrator not just of law libraries, but as a dean of Berkeley’s library school and its law school. But those of us in the law library community believe that Bob will be most remembered and celebrated for his work as a law librarian.

Some have said that becoming a law professor was what Bob really wanted and librarianship was just a way to get there.  But my view is that Bob is just Bob, whatever his title at a given moment.  He wants people to understand how the “transmogrification” of legal information affects them and their lives. He frequently reminds the future lawyers he teaches to be awake and vigilant as to how law is made, how it functions, how it survives, and to be in control of this, not buffeted about by it, or worse, duped by flashy technology that just creates or reifies more barriers than it breaks down. His hope is that if you understand this, you get what is going on and you may be able to penetrate the most devious algorithm and get to what actually matters about the law. Whether these insights come from Bob the law librarian, Bob the dean, Bob the law professor, or Bob the caretaker of Louie the Cat, doesn’t matter. It has always been just plain Bob who has been there for more than 35 years trying to get us to see the simple and powerful truth amid all the hype: there is no god making our laws, nor force of nature crafting them, no brooding omnipresence in the sky, no magic algorithm that relieves us of the moral obligation to do the hard work. There is just us, trying to make our way through a lot of messy and treacherous stuff in order to find answers to human problems and a path to justice.

What can we say?  There is no way to thank Bob enough for everything he has done for the library and law school, but we do thank him.  We will miss him and hope that retirement turns out to be as much fun as it looks.  As Bob’s colleague from Yale, Blair Kauffman, said last year upon his own retirement: “Between working and not working, not working is better.” Simple, but to the point.

We can hope that in retirement Bob will finally have time to answer the question Father Guido Sarducci posed so long ago:  If God made man in his own image, why aren’t we all, like ….. invisible?

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