Academic journal article Emory Law Journal

A Man in Full

Academic journal article Emory Law Journal

A Man in Full

Article excerpt

More than a decade ago, when I shared with friends and colleagues that I was leaving Washington for a faculty position at Emory, many advised me to read Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full-for its insights into the character of my newly adopted home. And I dutifully did so. Looking back, though, I ended up learning far more about character (and even Atlanta) from the "man in full" I was honored to work alongside than I did from that reading.

Over the course of my all-too-short association with Professor David Bederman, I successively came to know him as a colleague, as a scholar, and as a husband and father. I count myself immeasurably lucky to have learned from each of those facets of the man who he was.

I first encountered David as one of many new colleagues at Emory. While I felt welcomed by all, David took the demands of collegiality more to heart than most. Few days passed when David would not stop by my office at some point to say hello and ask how I was doing. With sincere curiosity, he inquired what I was working on, offered relevant suggestions and pointers, and wished me well. He was genuinely warm and gracious-characteristics that never failed him, even as his health did.

That warmth and grace, however, did not obscure David's appreciation- and expectation-of excellence. His encouragement and guidance thus helped enhance both my scholarship and teaching. Minimally, David's tremendous success on each count set a high bar for one to clear. Even more than that, though, I count his counsel to have been invaluable to my development as scholar and teacher. Offered in a firm yet encouraging manner, his advice and insights will always remain with me.

As to David Bederman as scholar, it is hard to know where to begin. On its face, his record of productivity-12 books, 125 articles, and more than 80 public lectures-is quite striking. It says even more, though, that his pace was only increasing in the final years of his life-at a time when debilitating illness would have lefta lesser man with more than ample excuse to rest on his laurels. Consider, thus, that during the six years following his initial diagnosis-and the prognosis of mere months to live-David produced more work than many scholars might produce in a lifetime.

It was from this impressive record that I took my first lesson from David as a scholar. As much as the production of scholarship is a discipline, it equally requires discipline. …

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