American University Washington College of Law Mourns the Loss of Professor Paul Rice
The AUWCL community is mourning the loss of our beloved colleague, Professor Paul Rice, who passed away unexpectedly Tuesday evening. Paul was a cherished and esteemed member of the AUWCL community, contributing 38 years of his professional life to educating generations of AUWCL students with great care, rigor, and effectiveness, while producing scholarship recognized around the world as the best in the field. His many celebrated publications and dedication, both to his students and scholarship, brought great acclaim to our institution and will continue to serve his former students, the judiciary, and lawyers in the United States and around the world for many years to come.
A memorial service was held at the Katzen Arts Center (4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 15.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to consider making a contribution to the Paul Rice Scholarship, to be established by the Washington College of Law, which will support students who distinguish themselves in Evidence. Contributions can be mailed to the following address:
Washington College of Law
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
C/O Kelly Colligan, Assistant Director of Annual Giving
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20016
Please make your checks payable to Washington College of Law and in the memo line, specify P. Rice Scholarship. You may also make a donation through the Office of Development and Alumni Relations webpage. In the description field of your funds, please designate that you would like your donation to go to the Paul Rice Scholarship Fund.
Professor Rice's death is such a tremendous institutional and personal loss for the AUWCL community, and a difficult time for many. We know that many people both inside and outside of our community have fond memories of Paul. Anyone who wishes to send thoughts or memories about Professor Rice can send them with your name to ProfRiceMemories@wcl.american.edu. We will post selected contributions to a memorial page in honor of Professor Rice on our website and will share them with his family and loved ones.
Select Tributes and Remembrances from Professor Rice's Students, Friends, and Colleagues
I didn’t know Paul the best or the longest, but I enjoyed him immensely and I feel lucky to have had him as a colleague and a friend. He was certainly a large and unique presence in the law school. Initially I worried that his absence would leave an aching hole here. But now I realize that his presence will still be felt at WCL. We will long remember his humor and his genuine concern for others.
I will miss his honesty the most. Some people are honest, but deliver honest assessments under layers of soft tissue. Not Paul. His honesty was delivered swiftly, as he did everything. I laugh when I remember the many times he marched into my office while I was associate dean to tell me that something was, and I quote, “bullshit!” But this style wasn’t what distinguished him as an extraordinarily honest person. It was his ability to admit to his own flaws. On several occasions, he would recount to me and others how he had misjudged a person or an issue. It takes a special person to be able to reevaluate a situation, and it is even more uncommon to admit mistakes. This quality that he exhibited had a profound effect on others. It reminded us that we can also misjudge, and it provided us with hope that we can appeal to the inherent good in others.
I am sad that his life was cut short, but I know that he achieved more during his time on earth than most people could achieve with many more years. Although he was fun to be with, he always had a seriousness of purpose. He didn’t sweat the small stuff and he didn’t waste time on nonsense. I know he accomplished more each morning than I did all day because he took a much deserved lunch break each day that he often invited me to join. Unfortunately, he had worked so hard and so fast that his lunch usually began just as I was finishing my breakfast. I now wish that I would have set my clock to his so that I could have enjoyed more lunches with him at De Carlos.
Paul was one of my first friends on the faculty. I soon discovered, as everyone does, that his bespectacled, bearded, tweed jacketed, gruff exterior was as thin as it was intimidating. Under it was an incredibly kind man with a big heart. Knowing Paul has had a positive impact on my life. I am grateful.
Christine Haight Farley
WCL Professor of Law
* * *
I just recently performed a wedding in the bucolic Berkshires of a couple who met in mid-life through a most unusual way. And the only poem that fit the occasion was one written by Paul Rice. It was included in the book of poetry that he sent me after we had become email friends following my appointment of him to serve as a special master in a complex case. (He was able to do what nobody else could: convince the warring parties that his ruling would be final and would not be appealed to me, saving me weeks of time.)
When we "spoke" via email, the conversation turned to the long duration of both of our marriages.....and he sent me the book of poetry dedicated to his wife, whom he worshipped. The newly married couple were so taken with his poem that they emailed me from Britain to ask the name of the poem and the poet, and said that they spoke often during their honeymoon about how amazingly that poem described the fulfillment of their lives when they finally met each other. I was intending to tell Paul that in my next email to him. How sad that I cannot tell him now, but I do hope that his wife sees this message.
I will always remember him with admiration and great fondness.
Hon. Faith S. Hochberg
U.S. District Judge
* * *
I graduated from the Washington College of Law in 1977. Professor Rice introduced me to the fields of criminal procedure and evidence.
I received the highest grades in his classes and he hired me to work on the District of Columbia Law Reform Commission.
He gave me a lifelong passion for criminal law and procedure and I have my own textbooks on these subjects today. My own teaching is modeled on his creative and penetrating Socratic approach to teaching. He encouraged me to earn an LL.M. at Harvard and to pursue an academic career. I only regret that I did not have the opportunity to express how much I owe to his mentorship and guidance. He was passionate, demanding, and intense and had a sharp mind, quick-wit, and a great sense of the absurd and greatly loved his family.
The greatest tribute to a teacher is that he or she has impacted the lives of students. Professor Rice by this measure was at the top of his profession. In this day of limited loyalty Professor Rice devoted himself to a institution. It is difficult to accept that this "force of nature" has moved on to a better world.
Matthew Lippman, ‘77
(PhD, JD, LLM)
* * *
Back when I signed up for Professor Rice's Evidence class in the Spring semester of 2011, I had only the vaguest sense of what I was coming up against. I didn't know very much about his reputation for being a tough professor or how difficult his class was reputed to be, so I found myself surprised and more than a little intimidated when he began rolling out his punches. He told us that he wasn't afraid to fail people, and at certain intervals throughout the semester, he kept reminding us of the importance of keeping up with the pace he set; if we didn't get this or that subject by now, we'd better do our best to get on top of it. He always gave off an aura of suppressed energy as he talked at length about the rules of evidence, and he had a mastery of the subject that constantly amazed me. Professor Rice never shied away from speaking his mind, pointing out cases where either the Advisory Committee or some judge tied the rules into some nonsensical knot that had him shaking his head in disbelief (to say the least). And, of course, he would cold-call students.
Needless to say, it was exhilarating, challenging, and, at the time, utterly terrifying. I was scared of being called on, and would always devote some amount of my attention to take stock of which sides of the class he was calling on today (and pray that I would fall within his sights on subjects on which I could keep up with him). As the semester wore on, I was even more terrified of failing the course, so when the final exam period drew closer, I made the leap and went to his office. I planned to ask him about some relevance question or other, which was a subject we'd covered fairly early in the course, so I was irrationally worried that he'd shake his head in disbelief (to say the least) and wonder why I didn't have a grasp on it by then.
Once again, I found myself completely surprised. Professor Rice gave me his full attention, patiently listened as I rambled incoherently towards the gist of my question, and he was kind and understanding as he helped me work through what I didn't get. He never made me feel embarrassed or silly for asking such a question, and he even gave me a grin when I left his office.
It was then that I realized that Professor Rice was one of the nicest professors I had ever met, and it all clicked with me. For all his (quite-animated) annoyance at some judge's nonsensical reading of the rules of evidence or the Advisory Committee's making things more complicated than it needed to be, Professor Rice never once transferred that annoyance to his students, and always treated us with respect, patience, and kindness. For all that he pushed us on a ruthlessly tough timetable that crammed countless pages of material into a few short months, he always challenged us to do our best, trusting that we could meet it. For all that he would bombard students with tough questions, he never once belittled or embarrassed those that got it wrong, and he instead worked with us through the logic needed to reach the right conclusion. For all that he cold-called us, he cracked countless jokes in that warm, down-to-earth way of his, using his sharp sense of humor to give us unforgettable ways of remembering the rules (again, to say the least).
I was honored to be his Dean's Fellow for both the summer and then the following fall semester; in fact, I'm still honored, and I don't think that feeling will ever fade. I learned so much from him, in evidence and editing and everything else, and I still have fond memories of us wrestling with the new and increasingly incomprehensible versions of Microsoft Word and smartphones. He was always there when I needed someone to talk to; no matter what the subject, he would always give me his full attention and responded with sound advice. Even when we passed by each other in the hallway, if I happened to be talking to another professor, he always put in a good word for me (much to my embarrassment!). Professor Rice truly had a big heart, and I was continually amazed at his boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Throughout my short time with him, both in class and in his office, Professor Rice helped give me the courage and self-confidence I sorely needed. No matter where I go, and no matter how much this world can and will change in the years ahead, I can always say with the utmost conviction that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck... it might not be a duck. Sometimes, it's really as simple as that.
Thank you for everything, Professor Rice. You will truly be missed.
Brian Shea, '12
Prof. Rice's Dean's Fellow '11-'12
* * *
It seems impossible to imagine the law school without Paul. For decades, for me and for so many others, Paul has been at the core of the definition and character of the law school faculty and community, a vibrant force adding incalculably to what has made the law school the special place that it has been over all of these years.
Coming out of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, I knew of Paul even before joining the faculty in 1982, from his work as a special master in the antitrust case against AT&T. In that role, he already had made quite an impression among both government attorneys and counsel for AT&T. From the moment I arrived at the law school, Paul was highly supportive and encouraging, in many and diverse ways, as he has been for all the new professors who have followed me. The first law school party I ever attended was at Paul’s house. Following the norms of informality I had been used to at the Division, I arrived coatless and tie-less, unlike my veteran colleagues. Quietly mentioning my discomfort to Paul, he smiled and quietly took me to the closet where he had all his ties, grinned and told me to borrow any one I wanted. It was one of my first introductions to the kindness and good-heartedness that was at Paul’s core.
I greatly have valued having Paul as a colleague ever since, which is not at all to say that we never disagreed, for example, about politics or policy. One of the greatest things about Paul was how earnestly, cogently and straight-forwardly, but respectfully, he would tell you exactly what he thought and engage with you about such things in a very down-to-earth way.
For decades, of course, Paul has been one of the greatest teachers at the law school. For all these years, he simultaneously has been an amazingly energetic, hard-working, disciplined and thorough scholar, becoming truly a master of his chosen field who creatively, widely, and highly effectively shared his mastery with his students, the scholarly community, and the profession.
As a teacher, we all know, Paul cared greatly about his students. He not only provided them with a detailed understanding of a fundamental area of law, but pushed them to go to new depths and levels of precision in their thinking, with lasting benefits going well beyond just their knowledge of evidence itself. He took in stride the fact that his, one might say, distinctive approach to grading became a perennial point of comedic reference at the year’s cultural highlight, the Law Revue show.
I never imagined a time when Paul would not be here alongside the rest of us on the faculty. For me, as for so many others, his smiling, good-natured, sharp-minded, vibrant, dedicated and frankly-spoken presence was always integral to what the law school faculty and community, at their best, have been.
I am finding it hard fully to grasp the fact that Paul so suddenly and tragically is gone. Paul was one of a kind. All of us will miss him greatly.
WCL Professor of Law
* * *
I first met Paul when I joined the faculty in 1988. I liked and respected him. Paul was direct and to the point in most matters, and at the same time, a passionate and emotional person. He really cared about his students, and he loved Evidence. I remember him cruising the halls at high speed in search of faculty to moot the Evidence moot court team, which he coached for many years. I really appreciated the amount of time and energy he put into the team, so I always said “yes” when he stopped by my office to ask me to moot a session. Paul was persistent; if he didn’t find me in his first attempt, he found me in his second or third attempt. Paul was also very supportive of junior faculty; he wrote supportive teaching evaluations in the process of evaluating junior faculty, and the evaluations were characteristically short. Paul did not have a lot of patience for process, or meetings, but he did really like people. It makes me happy that he was able to do many things in these past few years that gave him joy – including writing poetry and spending time at the Delaware beaches. Like all of us, Paul reflected his experiences in life, and I have no doubt that his hardscrabble upbringing had a big impact on him. In many ways, he was not a typical academic, but he was so smart and so quick and really just a very nice person. I will miss him.
WCL Professor of Law
* * *
Professor Rice was without question one of my favorite professors at WCL, and one whom I think of quite fondly, even now, 10 years after graduation. I have no doubt that through his Evidence class and his Advanced Evidence class, I was able to be a better lawyer than I otherwise would have been -- both when I worked as a trial lawyer at the D.C. Public Defender Service, and now, as a death penalty lawyer in the federal system. I attack evidence issues with tremendous confidence because of the outstanding teaching I received from Professor Rice. Professor Rice was exceptionally smart, he was an outstanding teacher, and to those who got to know him, it was obvious that he had a heart of gold. I was extremely saddened to hear of his passing, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family, to the law school which has truly lost a pillar, and to all the other former and current students that also know what a tremendous loss this is. Rest in peace, Professor Rice.
Stephen A. Cooper, Esq.
Middle District of Alabama
* * *
Paul was not one for a lot of palaver and dilly-dallying. He became well-known among his colleagues for “calling the question” at a faculty or committee meeting when he thought the debate, such as it was, had gone on long enough. As the years went on, it seemed that the time between the beginning of the discussion and Paul’s motion became shorter and shorter. Maybe that’s because after many years of teaching at WCL, he had, truly, seen it all. And he did not need to see it again.
But if Paul could be impatient in these larger settings, he was warm and generous in private. He was always interested in what you were working on and, of course, would regale us with stories of what he was working on, especially with tales about lawyers with whom he came into contact through his role as special master in various large cases. He took a particular interest in interacting with newer faculty, and played an important institutional role in inculcating in new faculty what it meant to be a faculty member at WCL. He also was dedicated to his students. For many years, he coached the Evidence moot court team. Each year, he would take a list of possible mooting session times to various faculty colleagues and ask you which time you were signing up for. It never seemed to occur to Paul that one would say no, or that one did not have time to do it. Indeed, as one of those who he came to see every year, I never thought that saying no was an option. To Paul, this was not a colleague doing something for him, but a colleague doing something for our students. So of course “no” was not an option.
I will miss Paul’s directness and warmth, his sharp sense of humor and his willingness to call people to account when they weren’t being honest. He has touched many lives, both within and outside of the institution. We will miss him.
Robert D. Dinerstein
Professor of Law & Director of Clinical Program
American University Washington College of Law
One of my favorite parts of American Jurist magazine was the Law Life Love section, in which a much-loved professor is asked to handwrite reflections and advice. Professor Rice apologized for being "too serious about the undertaking" and writing beyond the allotted space -- we made a 2-page spread for him special!
Below is what he wrote.
Salua V. Baida
* * *
I am saddened and shocked at the passing of Professor Paul Rice and extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Jane and their family.
I took Professor Rice's Evidence class in the spring of 1999 with a healthy dose of fear of his notorious Socratic method and respect for his passion to teach WCL students the Rules of Evidence. Out of that, I finished Evidence with a grasp of hearsay, confidence in the proper presentation of trial evidence and a surprisingly good final grade. Shortly after the end of the semester, I was somewhat alarmed at receiving a voicemail on my answering machine (well before the days of cell phones) from Professor Rice to give him a call. Expecting news that there was an error in my grade, I was instead surprised by Professor Rice's invitation to serve as his Dean's Fellow for the 1999-2000 school year. I gratefully accepted and, to this day, will always treasure that experience for so many reasons.
First, I developed a love for jazz music sitting in Professor Rice's office that year as he whistled away to Miles Davis while he was typing away at his PC. To this day, I too play jazz music in my office, occasionally whistling to the trumpets or saxophones. Second, I enhanced my evidence education as I assisted Professor Rice edit and revise the very casebook I had just spent the prior semester reading, re-reading and making notations in those impossibly small margins. That experience earned me numerous kudos as a law firm associate writing motions and, to this day, continues to be my go-to source for trial preparation and presentation as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Indeed, I still utilize Professor Rice's double hearsay diagram to map out and anticipate objections, a true testament to him as both an expert in evidence and a fantastic professor. Above all, however, I gained a mentor who has guided me through my legal career. As I went from judicial law clerk to law firm associate to prosecutor, Professor Rice was always there to take my phone calls, write the glowing letters of recommendation, act as a strong reference and to give me sound, unbiased advice on my career choices.
I was truly blessed to have had Professor Paul Rice as my professor and mentor.
* * *
I took Professor Rice's evidence class now nearly nineteen years ago in the fall of 1993. Like others who have written, I remember the first few classes as frightening, and I also remember well my gut-level Òfight or flightÓ response. I didn't quit, but I also didn't ÒfightÓ or engage as deeply as I might have. Instead, I devoted considerable energy to staying below the radar, and I somehow emerged largely unscathed, but still a little in fear of Professor Rice and without getting to know him as well as I wish I had. I am grateful, however, for a couple of later encounters, and particularly for a conversation I had with him when I purchased two beautiful Christmas ornaments that he had made and contributed to a WCL Founders Day auction. I went to his office to let him know I had put in the successful bid and to tell him how beautiful I found them, and he explained their West Virginia origins and the artistry involved in making them. 19 years later those works of art – one shiny, silvery blue, the other, vibrant red -- still appear on my tree every holiday season and I still remind my family and tell my friends that my evidence professor made them. As a musician and a lawyer, I continue to be in awe of him and to marvel at the combination of intellectualism, artistry, and humor he embodied, and I strive to be deeply engaged in, and passionate about both the law and life as he was.
Barbara Marvin, '95
* * *
Paul's sudden passing is hard to grasp. To Jane and your children and grandchildren of whom he spoke often – his beloved – goes the expression of my deep grief and sorrow.
I am just one of many that he embraced with his bear-hug mentioned already, with his good-humoured greeting, his sparkling eye.
I would often over many years of true friendship come from far abroad and would mostly in the first morning of my stay find his office where he was sure to be working – always. He sits accompanied by artful objects that show his taste and by a quirky plant that frames him and his family pictures. He would hug me and have a good word saved up for me. We would lunch and talk about law and anything imaginable: he was most committed to the law and rightly proud of his achievements as author and special master.
Paul was hard work; he was warmth and wit and intelligence and strength, so apparent to all who met him. His poetic writings showed soul and delicacy of feelings, sharpness of his eye and a talent to touch with words as if he was laying on hands.
For ailments Paul was not going to stop. He cannot just have gone. But in Germanic tongue to die is to walk over. We are told he walks there and can not turn around. We are left berieved.
Adjunct Faculty – AUWCL
Professor of Law – Ghent University
* * *
Paul's passing leaves a huge void at WCL, and for me personally.
When I first joined the WCL community in 1996, my office was across the hall from Paul's - and we struck up a friendship. Despite my move to England two years later, he and I would catch up on events - often about his family - during my annual summer return including 2012. I will miss those summertime meetings, and his friendship.
Fellow in Administrative Law
* * *
It was an honor and privilege to be Paul Rice's friend and colleague. I first came to WCL in 2003 but I knew him long before as part of the Connecticut gang. He made me feel welcome from day #1.
Many may not know but the book plaque awards we give faculty were Paul's idea - I tried to give him the credit but he said absolutely not.
It's only day three but breakfast club is just not the same. He loved his family and his WCL family. We were truly blessed by his scholarship, teaching and friendship.
Billie Jo Kaufman
WCL Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources
* * *
I will always remember Paul's easy smile and friendliness. It was such a pleasure to bump into him at the law school, and I very much enjoyed it when he popped into my office for a chat or laugh. Perhaps even without know it, he spread a lot of joy around the law school. I am one of many who will miss him.
Jennifer de Laurentiis
WCL Special Assistant to the Dean
Having relocated to a new state with a newly hung artisan shingle outside the door of a second floor art studio, Paul and Jane were the first to climb the stairs to welcome me. Since then, nearly 10 years have passed and I've come to know them both as patrons and as friends. I've witnessed their infectious enthusiasm for life, for art and for each other. On our most recent visit at my home, Paul and Jane came through the door with a bagette, a bag of delicious salads and cheeses and a most special gift of four books of his poetry. Paul's words are beautiful and came from his heart. His passing is too sudden and too soon. As will all who have been blessed to know him, I will miss Paul a great deal and feel honored to have been the recipient of his nurturing way, his kindness and friendship.
* * *
Although I'm not a big participant in the WCL alumni community and haven't seen Professor Rice in many years, I'm deeply saddened to learn of his unexpected passing. 'Turns out I enjoyed Evidence, surely at least in part because of the personality and talent of the professor who taught it. He clearly relished teaching, and he was one of my favorites.
I remember his sarcastic wit, which most students seemed to appreciate and take in the backhandedly compassionate spirit in which Professor Rice seemed to intend it (or maybe I just think so because he was always smiling when delivering such comments). One day an unfortunate student opined that if the prosecution lost at trial, Òthey can just appeal it.Ó ÒReally?,Ó Professor Rice responded, ÒHave YOU ever heard of a thing called DOUBLE JEOPARDY?Ó Another day in class he asked me several questions in rapid fire, so fast that I was waiting 'til he was finished before responding. His last question was, ÒAre you stunned at interviews?Ó
To current faculty, staff and students who've suddenly lost Professor Rice's wit, humor, compassion and gifts from your daily lives, please accept my genuine sympathy.
Paul Levine, '84
Paul Rice is an old and dear friend. He and his family came into my life in the mid 1970's, when they moved to our Bethesda neighborhood from Mississippi. They have been a significant part of my life ever since.
Over the years Paul and I spent hundreds of hours discussing our boyhoods; of growing up poor in rural America during and just after the depression. His poetry reflected many of those discussions.
We played hundreds of tennis matches together. I feel lucky to have survived his awesome cannon serves. We also, along with Mike Higgins and his son, Patrick, had a standing 6:30am doubles match every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the neighborhood courts.
For many years, the Rice and Higgins families and my family shared a beach house at either Dewey or Rehoboth Beach for the entire summer. Paul wrote the better part of his first book on Evidence at the West Street house in Dewey. He would be up a 5:30 and write until lunch time and then head to the beach for an afternoon of body surfing and early evening tennis.
We also shared a number of ski trips to the Sierras and Colorado. Like everything else he did, Paul was an aggressive skier and relished getting to the bottom of the mountain first. These were wonderful trips – sharing a big house with our three families and friends, skiing all day with huge festive dinners and lots of conversation each night and a late night walks that sometimes turned into a pub crawls. And always with Paul, there was lots of good-natured rubbishing.
Paul held golf in low esteem but decided he'd like us to take our boys on a golf trip. Paul practiced at a driving range and armed himself with about three or four dozen balls for the trip. It was to be a three day outing. However, Paul decided at the end of the second day he was going home. He had lost all of his balls and declared that he Òhad never had the experience that the more he worked at something the worse he became.Ó He was driven to excel and wasn't going to waste anymore of his time with golf! His son, Andrew, stayed and came home with me and my boys.
Paul and the Rice's have been a very important part of my life for over 35 years. We've shared so much of ourselves and our lives together – so many dinners, so many Solstices and I have so many wonderful memories of time together with Paul, full of laughter and belly aching fun.
I feel enormously sad at losing such a dear friend and wonderful human being. He leaves a huge hole in my life.
I had the honor of taking Prof. Rice's class in Fall of 2011. While I was initially petrified at the thought of being thoroughly inadequate to face the challenge, the fear was soon replaced (for the most part, anyway) by a deep sense of respect and awe. While Evidence can be seen as a dry class with less narrative and more of a rule-application sort of pattern, Prof. Rice wove the story behind each rule so fully that years after taking his class, alumni still feel confident in their knowledge of the subject. However, it wasn't just his incredible understanding of the subject that made him one of my most memorable professors. His good-natured back and forth with his students, his humorous anecdotes about living on a farm when he was younger, his little mentions about his vibrant life outside of class like his annual Christmas party and his patent litigator tennis buddy -- all of this came together to paint a more complete picture of the man that he was. This is such a great loss to the WCL community. You will be sorely missed, Prof. Rice.
Maanasa Kona, '12
* * *
I was blessed to have had Professor Rice for Evidence. I had heard the legend of the man shortly after I got to WCL, and once I knew that I wanted to litigate I knew I had to have his class. Prof. Rice was brilliant, and he expected nothing less than brilliance in return. He would ask questions not just to hear you recite back what was in the book. He wrote the book. He knew what was in there, but he would probe and force you to reason out why the rule made sense, or in some cases why the rule was wrong. His class earned the reputation for being challenging, and I felt better for being challenged. I will always be grateful for the fact that he not only taught the law as a thing to know, but as a thing to be challenged, when it was wrong, or did not make sense. The rules are there to be followed, and made better.
Thank you Professor Rice for helping me to be better,
Jeff List, '12
* * *
I am so incredibly saddened by this news, and my thoughts and prayers go to Professor Rice's family. I feel so fortunate to have had the privilege to take Professor Rice's Evidence course during my second year at WCL. As I have spent this summer studying for the bar, I've thought of Professor Rice often. As I've read through evidence bar materials and questions, it struck me how his teaching style really drove home very complicated points of law, and how well I remember concepts based on his descriptions in class and in his office hours.
Professor Rice was a truly amazing teacher, who genuinely wanted his students to learn concepts that would be important in their careers, and in shaping their legal education. Professor Rice pushed us to do our best in his class, and I think it was because he really believed we were capable of rising to the challenges he set for us. I worked harder in his class and studied more for his final that for any other course or exam in law school, and through that process learned evidence better than I ever thought possible, and felt I had done the impossible. I will always be grateful to Professor Rice for his thoughtful, passionate, instruction as well as his kindness.
Lauren Trevisan, '12
* * *
I took Professor Rice's Evidence class in spring 2011. I had heard the rumors of it being difficult, but wanted to see for myself. On the first day, Professor Rice was honest. He said he would fail students that didn't learn the material and that you would have to read for and attend class. A few of my friends dropped after that first day, but I am so glad I stayed. There aren't really adequate words to describe the course. It was challenging, difficult, exciting, and entertaining. Professor Rice was funny and kind. Not only did I learn Evidence, but I also learned a lot about Professor Rice. He loved West Virginia, art, and his family -- mentioning his wife often in his stories. I appreciated his sense of humor and his honesty.
After taking that Evidence class, I couldn't say enough great things about Professor Rice. I always encouraged every student registering for classes to take it if you wanted to actually learn evidence. It is such a loss that future WCL students won't have that invaluable opportunity. I can't imagine how much his family must miss him. I miss seeing his smiling face every morning leaving the cafeteria. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from such a brilliant man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
* * *
Prof. Rice's Evidence course was one of the most useful courses I had in law school. He, more than any other professor that I've had, broke down existing models of how to think, and rebuilt them in a more robust way. In that regard, he was more than a legal academic or a professor: he was a teacher. He taught more than just law, he taught how to think. I've never had a teacher quite like that at any level before, and to have been in his Evidence class, I count myself quite fortunate.
Dan Rosenthal, '10
* * *
Professor Rice's course was every student's red badge of courage. He set the bar high so that we would continue to do so. He was a passionate teacher, a treasure, and we shall miss him.
Cecilia Duran Closs, '03
* * *
I took Evidence with Professor Rice first thing in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Spring semester of 2010. He was very fond of breakfast, and every time I ran into him in the school dining hall, he had a bowl of oatmeal, fruit, and protein such as eggs. The morning of the final exam, I sat across from him and said, "I always like to face my opponent before the match."
Professor Rice laughed heartily and replied, "I'm on your side . . . as long as you're right." Professor Rice was definitely unforgettable. One minute he hit you with brilliant analyses of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the next he disarmed you with an earthy joke.
Evidence with Rice was like a WCL rite of passage, and the best moment of the semester was when you realized that the stern exterior was exactly that: an exterior, and what you really were dealing with was a big softie.
He was always willing to receive anything he dished out at the class, but his demanding persona always gave an air of drama and tension to the learning process that truly motivated you to prepare for the class. He made you want to be better and strive harder, while never losing perspective that all human endeavors, particularly the formation of the Federal Rules of Evidence, are inevitably filled with folly. How many students can say their Evidence professor was unforgettable? Certainly anyone who studied under Professor Rice.
Gregory Glofak, '12
* * *
Earlier this summer I had talked with Paul about my long-awaited trip to Yellowstone National Park. We had talked about how it illustrates the powerful, gradual forces of nature and the transitory nature of our own lives in comparison. I was in Yellowstone when Paul died, but didn't know it until two days later. Needless to say it was a total shock to receive the news via an e-mail and to suddenly realize I wouldn't be able to tell him about my trip, or whatever else I was doing, as I so often did during my 16 years at WCL.
Paul was a “force of nature” himself--a renaissance man full of joie de vivre. The many testimonials from his former students eloquently describe his teaching legacy. His many published books of poetry will leave a lasting personal and literary legacy. And he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. I write as a colleague--one whom he befriended soon after I arrived at WCL, by inviting me to accompany him on one of his daily lunches at DiCarlo's.
The waiters at DiCarlo's loved him and had his glass of wine and a list of his “usuals” ready for him when he walked in. The lunchtime conversations ranged all over the lot from tennis, politics, art, travel, cars, and sometimes even law--about all of which Paul could hold forth with great wit and wisdom.
Through his constant encouragement and support Paul Rice made a huge difference in my life as he did in so many others'. I and WCL will miss him terribly.
Professor of Practice in Administrative Law, WCL
* * *
The world will sadly never be the same without "ducks that are not ducks," "dogs and nuns," and the frankness of a wise and caring man willing to call out the "bullshit" he saw around him. Paul Rice will be missed and those of us lucky enough to survive his class are blessed to have known him.
Class of 2013
* * *
I took Professor Rice's Evidence class in the fall of my 2L year. I studied harder for every session of his class than I did for any other class because he expected nothing but the best from his students at any moment during class. Sometime in the middle of the semester, Professor Rice called me to the front of the class to draw one of his famous diagrams. One of my fellow classmates had already failed to draw the diagram properly or come to the right conclusion. Not only did I properly diagram the problem in front of the class, I also answered all of his questions correctly. It was one of the defining moments of my law school career. It was the moment that I realized that I wanted to litigate and that I had the chops to do so. I will forever be grateful that he made me realize my true potential by pushing me to find it myself. The litigator I become will be thanks in no small part to his advice and wisdom.
Jennifer C. Mullins, '11
Law Clerk, The Honorable Russell Canan, D.C. Superior Court
Adjunct Professor, American University Washington College of Law
* * *
I took Professor Rice's Evidence course now nearly nineteen years ago in the fall of 1993. Like others who have written, I remember the first few classes as frightening, and I also remember well my gut-level “fight or flight” response. I didn't quit, but I also didn't “fight” or engage as deeply as I might have. Instead, I devoted considerable energy to staying below the radar, and I somehow emerged largely unscathed, but still a little in fear of Professor Rice and without getting to know him as well as I wish I had. I am grateful, however, for a couple of later encounters, and particularly for a conversation I had with him when I purchased two beautiful Christmas ornaments that he had made and contributed to a WCL Founders' Day auction. I went to his office to let him know I had put in the successful bid and to tell him how beautiful I found them, and he explained their West Virginia origins and the artistry involved in making them. 19 years later those works of art – one shiny, silvery blue, the other, vibrant red – still appear on my tree every holiday season and I still remind my family and tell my friends that my evidence professor made them. As a musician and alawyer, I continue to be in awe of him and to marvel at the combination of intellectualism, artistry, and humor he embodied, and I strive to be deeply engaged in, and passionate about both the law and life as he was.
Barbara Marvin, '95
* * *
Both my daughter, Deborah Parver Oremland, and I had the privilege of having Prof. Paul Rice teach us the rules of Evidence. He truly was one of the best, if not the best, teacher we had at WCL during our years there. Later, as a friend and colleague, I was always happy to encounter Paul in the hallways or elevators of the law school, and we shared memories of past classes and times. When I reminded him that he also taught my daughter, he joked that, only when he would teach my grandchildren would he feel really old and just maybe have to retire! So, sadly, that day won't come now that he has left us. My very deepest sympathies to his entire family. Best regards.
Corrine Parver, Esq.
Founder, Health Law and Policy Project, and
Consultant, Program on Law and Government
American University Washington College of Law
* * *
I've never had a teacher like Professor Rice before. He was obviously brilliant, and he expected students to rise up and meet him at his level of knowledge, unrelentingly forcing us to meet him at his level. Some people found this approach frightening. I certainly did at first. And because of that, I did the homework. The first time he called on me in class, my hands began to tremble and I got the answer wrong. But Professor Rice did not embarrass his students. He just kept asking you questions, backing you into a corner of reasoning that actually made sense. And if you tried to just give up, admit defeat, that the law had once again conquered you, he would not let you give up. If you have ever been to his office hours to embarrassingly confess to still not understanding, he was incredibly kind, patient, and encouraging. I was, and still am, fascinated by his pedagogy. He created an almost ruthless teaching persona because he wanted us to learn the law that badly. He cared that much. I think he just wanted to create a whole crop of evidence scholars that would challenge his theories and question him like he questioned us.
I emailed him last month to let him know that because of him, my bar review classes on evidence were extremely boring. He said: Sometimes hard work really pays off, doesn't it? I also asked about his health, and he said that he had decided that before long he was going to be better than normal and on the tennis courts again.
I hope his family knows how many students' lives he affected, in the most positive way. I hope they know how blessed we feel to have learned from him. I hope they know that he leaves a hole so big in our community that I can't imagine it ever being filled. I hope they know how much he is missed.
Liz Jackson, '12
* * *
I met Paul through my brother, Professor Robert Goldman, who considered Paul to be one of his closest friends, and on meeting him, I immediately understood why. Paul was very a rare combination of wry humor, empathy, intelligence and selflessness. He was a great art lover and could converse endlessly on the subject and he was such a gifted conversationalist that I hung on his every word. After nearly fifty years of marriage, he still adored his wife and spoke often and lovingly of her, always speaking of "us" rather than "me", giving those of us jaded by too many bad experiences and ruined relationships a reason to believe that true love was possible.
He had a way of cutting through the extraneous and distilling a problem down to its' basis and seemed to always have a simple solution to what seemed overwhelming to others and he listened, really listened, to you when you had a problem or a complaint and genuinely cared that you were troubled.
Self made men have always been a rare commodity, especially in these times, and Paul was exactly that: self made and one who never forgot his roots, who believed in everyone's ability to do what he did and genuinely celebrating those who did. There was a singular absence of ego in him despite the heights he achieved and he made it all look so easy. And in that, Paul was the essence of elegance in the truest meaning of the word.
I so looked forward to my visits to Bob when Paul would come by or have lunch with us. I enjoyed his company so much and the thought that I won't have those moments to look forward to anymore is more distressing than I can describe. I know that Bob feels as though he has lost a brother and those of you in the legal community have lost a legal giant who set the standard for those who will follow. I lost a friend who I will remember for his wealth of spirit and simple goodness.
Caroline Goldman Cassagnol
Santa Fe, NM
* * *
I am very sorry to hear of Professor Rice's passing. I took his evidence class in the Spring of 2007. I remembering preparing for the first class like I was preparing for the bar exam. Professor Rice was one of the best and most challenging professors I have encountered who made sure his students were fully equipped to go from the classroom to the courtroom.
Rebecca G. Levin
Jerner & Palmer, P.C.
* * *
I took Professor Rice's evidence course in Spring 2010. At that time, I had a baby, less than a year old, and a 2 year old. Somehow Professor Rice found out I had kids and asked me how they were doing, and when we were making up classes post-Snowmageddon, checked with me specifically to make sure that my child care would still work out with the earlier class time. I count him among the best teachers I've ever had the privilege to learn from - he was compassionate, passionate, and was always willing to take or make time for us. I can't express my sorrow that he's gone.
Amanda Lindberg, '11
* * *
Professor Rice was one of the most demanding law professors that I ever had, but I could not have learned more about the rules of evidence than I did from him. He challenged us to think critically and strived to prepare us not only for the bar exam but for legal practice. He had a great sense of humor and was delighted when the Law Revue poked fun at his tough grading policy with a song in his honor. I was lucky to have learned from him and am sad for those future WCL students who won't have the chance. You will be sorely missed, Professor Rice.
Maggie (Croteau) Greenlee, '06
* * *
Professor Rice was one of the best (and toughest) professors I ever had. During my law practice, I often recall his quips to remember evidence rules, which have proven to be very helpful on the fly. As a West Virginia native, Professor Rice helped me feel at home at WCL and I was always eager to tell others about our shared background.
Practicing law at home in West Virginia, I have met more than a few friends and classmates of Professor Rice who continue to think as fondly of him as I do. He will truly be missed, but surely never forgotten.
Kevin Baker, '08
* * *
I will miss my early morning conversations with Paul in the cafeteria. We came in early and often shared breakfast and talked about growing up in the south. We talked about growing up poor, having jobs as kids and the importance of hard work. We talked about poetry and children and how important they were. He talked about loving WCL, teaching and scholarship.
I will miss you Paul.
Professor Brenda V. Smith
Acting Director of the Clinical Program
Community and Economic Development Law Clinic
Director, Project on Addressing Prison Rape
American University Washington College of Law
* * *
A favorite story that Paul and I shared: when I was a student at WCL in the evening division, I registered for evidence to be taught by Prof. Rice. I was working as a reporter in the Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau, and my deadlines were the same time as the start of class. I went to the first class and heard his attendance policy, realized there was no way I was going to meet the requirements and left and dropped the class. About a year later Paul was on a sabbatical, and evidence was taught by a visiting professor who didn't really care who came to class and when.
I've been at WCL for thirteen years now, and Paul and I loved to tell that story together. But if you knew Paul, you know that he always got the punchline in this story. “No wonder you never learned any damn evidence,” he would declare with a big laugh.
Fellow in Law and Government
Director, Summer Institute on Law & Government
American University Washington College of Law
Chair-Elect, ABA Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities
* * *
Professor Rice had a well-earned reputation at WCL of being the toughest professor...with the toughest final exam. While in his Evidence lecture my 2L year, Professor Rice chastised me for wearing a beanie. 100+ students erupted in laughter both with me and at me. I took it in stride. Anyone who didn't know any better might think that he was picking on me. I know that Professor Rice was demonstrating the real affection he had for each and every one of his students.
I am a better litigator now because I had Rice for Evidence. With what you taught me, Professor, I can do justice. My clients and I give you our greatest thanks, and pour out our warmest wishes to you and your family in your time of passing.
Scott Daniel, '09
* * *
Professor Rice was tough. He was exacting the way a ruler marks distance -- never with malice, never wrong, never without reason. When he said something it was because it was true. In his evidence class the law bent to his view. Not always willingly, but because there was no alternative. An intellectual force and a caring man, he was a scholar and a teacher, revered and somewhat feared, but never unappreciated. A backbone is a hard thing to replace. We are all lessened by this loss.
Zach Zarnow, 12
* * *
I cannot describe my tremendous sadness at the passing of Professor Rice
I had the honor of taking Prof. Rice's Evidence course, and working closely with him as my faculty advisor for the Evidence Moot Court Team.
That evidence class was the lowest grade I got in law school - but that grade did not matter. I learned more about the law in that evidence class than any other class I took in law school. But it isn't the class I remember most - its the random banter I used to have with Prof. Rice, the (frequent) times he would correct me, and the look of sheer joy he got when he discussed Evidence. And one of my favorite memories in law school: I took a bathroom break towards the beginning of a class, and on the way out, I caught him walking out the front door. "Mr. Bagga, what are you doing?", he asked. I told him, "Nothing, Professor Rice." He motioned for me to follow him. We went across the street to Starbucks, he bought me coffee, and over a cigar, we discussed the law, school, and other random topics. I was so engaged that I forgot I was still in class. An hour later, I ran back to my class to collect my belongings as class wrapped up!
I remembered Professor Rice frequently as a prosecutor - every time I corrected my colleagues or opposing counsel (occasionally even the judge) on some evidentiary ruling. And every time I remembered him, I remembered the grade I got and couldn't help but smile.
I cannot thank you enough Professor Rice. I will miss you.
Rishi S. Bagga, J.D. '06 / LL.M. '10
* * *
What I remember about Professor Rice, besides that he was a great teacher, is that he often spoke of his family in class. Whether it was mentioning them in a discussion about character evidence or just going off on a tangent, it was clear from his affectionate tone that he loved his family very much and that he was very proud of them. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time.
- Chad Guo, Rice's Evidence Class, Spring 2012
Chao (Chad) Guo
Note and Comment Editor, American University Law Review
J.D. Candidate, Class of 2013, Washington College of Law, American University
* * *
I am truly saddened to learn of Professor Rice's passing. Never being one to shy away from a challenge, I eagerly enrolled in his evidence class at WCL. As every WCL alum knows, Professor Rice's evidence class had the honor of being, perhaps, the most feared class offered at the law school. I was curious to learn first hand if these rumors were fact or myth and to meet the legendary professor. His evidence class did not disappoint. Yes, it was indeed challenging, but it was not without its rewards. Professor Rice inspired in me a love of evidence, so much so that I chose to write my law review comment on that subject. Professor Rice was my faculty advisor for this endeavor and without his constant support and critiquing, I am sure my comment would not have been published. I was also fortunate to take Professor Rice's Advanced Evidence seminar.
One of my favorite memories of Professor Rice is when he learned that my husband was from the same West Virginia town in which he grew up. Upon hearing that my husband was from Huntington and that we still frequently visited, he immediately inquired about our favorite hot dog spot. For anyone not familiar with Huntington, hot dogs are a form of local haute cuisine and natives are fiercely loyal to their favorite stand, of which there are many. Professor Rice informed me that he was a Frost Top man and I could tell he was disappointed to discover that we were a Stewart's family, but I don't think he held that against me.
Professor Rice was an amazing teacher and mentor. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues. Today we have lost a great teacher and a great man.
Kelly Rutan, '07
* * *
Professor Rice was an amazing educator and wonderful person. I can never thank him enough for all he taught me.
Ankhi Sengupta, '09
* * *
It is with great sadness that I write my thoughts on Prof. Rice's passing. Professor Rice was undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, professors I have had the honor of taking a class with. He engaged in vigorous discussion of the Federal Rules of Evidence and expected his students to similarly engage. It was clear that he truly loved what he did. Although I was always petrified that Prof. Rice would call on me and drill me on the rule of the hour, he was honestly one of the nicest people that I encountered while at WCL. As a practitioner, I think of Prof. Rice often and I use his practice materials on a regular basis. My greatest regret upon graduating from WCL was not taking Professor Rice's advanced evidence course.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He was truly a great man who had an impact on many lives and will be greatly missed.
Zeenat Iqbal, '08
* * *
LEGENDARY. That is what Professor Rice was. Professor Rice will always be a professor who wasn't just a professor: a duck that was not a duck. I had many amazing professors at WCL but none of them challenged and pushed me (and openly taunted me in class) as much as Professor Rice. When stumped on evidentiary issues, his book and my notes from his class are the first thing I turn to. Some of my fondest law school memories will always be of studying for Rice's excruciating final and running to him with questions every chance we got. He taught us reputation but taunting us with his own. He taught us not just the rules (and the common law) but to loathe the rules. I hope he is up in heaven now with a lot of Dogs and Nuns.
Maya Dominguez, Esq.
New Hampshire Public Defender
* * *
Professor Rice was the best teacher I have ever had. Period, no hesitation. Before taking Evidence with Professor Rice there were rumors that he was too hard or not nice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Was Professor Rice's evidence class one of the hardest classes I ever took? Yes. Did I study more for that final than any other final? Yes. Did he expect every student to come to his class every day prepared and ready to discuss the subject? Absolutely. Professor Rice did this not because he was mean, but because he had a huge heart and he wanted and pushed his students to be their best. He taught me to love the law and the legal profession. I came into his class a law student and came out a lawyer. For that I will always be internally grateful. Professor Rice, you will be missed, always.
P.S. Sometimes a duck is not a duck and I could have had a V8
Sean P. Shecter
White Case LLP
* * *
I spent much of my 2L reading his evidence text book and was reward 3L year when I was honored to serve as his Dean's Fellow. What struck me during those experiences was his passion for the subject matter and, even moreso, his passion for being a teacher.
The passion for being a teacher may not have come across if your only exposure to him was on his first day of class, when he took pride in winnowing the class size down and eliminating anyone who didn't want to work. But if you stuck out that first day, it was tough to miss. You would watch him get so animated by the perplexing rules--perplexing to the students who needed to learn them and perplexing to Prof. Rice because the damn Advisory Committee didn't make any sense! By the end of it though, he lead you through the maze and complexities until you too knew it better than those who wrote it! I could go on about the classroom professor--the outlandish examples, detailed stories, and the nonsensical catch phrases (dogs and nuns, duck that's not a duck, etc.) that seared the subject matter into your memory. But it was outside the classroom where his passion was truly evident and unquestionable.
He was always willing to talk out a tough problem with you in his office--regardless of whether you stopped by during office hours or not. A simple email from the law review inquiring about whether a recent evidence decision would make a good symposium topic yielded pages and pages of ideas in response. He was constantly trying to recruit his past and current dean's fellow into taking up the teaching ranks and re-imparting the wisdom they had gleaned from Prof. Rice.
It did not take long to discover that the curmudgeon persona he tried hard to cultivate on that first day of class, was not a reflection of the man (just a reflection of the myth that he loved). He was welcoming and hilarious. I believe my first three assignments as his dean's fellow related to the origins of different colloquialisms and sayings. He'd get on a roll and shortly, without fail, he'd announce, "now we're cooking with gas!" Although I'm pretty sure he was always cooking with it. He sought tirelessly to compile his privilege cases for his treatise, and even more tirelessly to find the perfect word to capture some abstract feeling for his poetry.
I would be remiss to discuss Prof. Rice's passion without mentioning his wife, Jane. The passion and love he had for her dwarfed his other passions without question. At graduation, Prof. Rice and his wife welcomed me and my extended family to his home to enjoy a spectacular dinner. They opened their home to us with open arms, which is unsurprising but memorable nonetheless.
It should be noted that I would have written this sooner, but tried to find a working version of Word Perfect to draft it on. I thought that would be the only appropriate way. Unfortunately, the only computer I've ever used with that loaded up on it sat across from his desk in his office...
In this life, it is only on the shoulders of giants that we accomplish anything great and I am truly humbled that I have the opportunity to have learned from such a giant. Maybe if I am lucky I will do something worthy of standing on those shoulders...
Kevin Barnett, '10
Prof. Rice's Dean's Fellow 2009-2010
* * *
During my time at AUWCL, no professor had a greater impact on my legal education and my law school experience than Paul Rice. I was extremely lucky to have had the chance to sit in his classroom, work for him, and to get to know him personally. I enjoyed the lessons, the dry humor, and his poems. He was a wise man, and a kind man. Thank you, Professor Rice.
David M Kerwin
Assistant Attorney General
Washington State Attorney General's Office
* * *
Like almost everyone I knew, I took Professor Rice's Evidence class, and I could tell then just as I recall now (20 years later) that he was a man who understood his topic AND how to teach it. But I was a very shy student, and I rarely spoke in any class or visited any professor's office hours. So, sadly, I never got to know Professor Rice the way his students had the opportunity to do. Nonetheless, I felt very comfortable that I had learned a lot from him, and I went on to become a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and to practice every day what he preached. In the years since, I have always noticed that I understood hearsay better than most of the lawyers and judges I've known, and I have always recognized that this was thanks to Professor Rice and not the result of some strange hearsay gene in my family.
So, one day some 10 or more years after I graduated when I was at WCL interviewing applicants to the DA's office – emboldened by the fact that I was no longer a student and was on a fairly successful career path myself, and having shed some of the shyness of my youth – I decided to stop in and chat with Professor Rice to thank him for his Evidence class. There was no reason he should have remembered me, and he did not pretend that he did, but I was struck by his openness to chatting with me anyway, by his almost child-like (in a good way) enthusiasm for the subject matter that was his expertise, and by the sheer speed with which he could think. He had an infectious joy for his chosen subjects, and it was such a pleasure to experience that conversation with him that I very consciously regretted not having gotten to know him better when I was in his class.
I did not take Professor Rice's privilege class, but coincidentally, on the very day I learned of his passing, I was in the midst of reviewing a junior A.D.A.'s appellate brief addressing a privilege claim. Given how much I learned from Professor Rice about hearsay in his evidence class, I'm acutely aware that editing that privilege argument would have been much easier had I studied privilege with Professor Rice as well!
Professor Rice's untimely passing is a terrible tragedy for his loved ones and a great professional loss for WCL. These remembrances will not lessen that grief or fill that void. However, I do hope that Professor Rice's loved ones and close friends will realize just how wide an influence he had. There are literally thousands of attorneys, all over the country, who are better at what they do thanks to Professor Rice. And we know it.
Thank you, Professor Rice. Rest in peace.
Vincent Rivellese, WCL '94
Senior Appellate Counsel
District Attorney, New York County
* * *
I send my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Professor Paul Rice. With his passing away we are not only losing a highly esteemed academic scholar, but above all a fantastic friendly and warm person.
Leo Zwaak, Adjunct Professor, Washington College of Law
Associate Professor, Utrecht University School of Law
* * *
Professor Rice was one of the best professors I had at WCL. His Evidence lessons guided me through law school, mock trial, three bar exams, and into practice as a litigator. I was quite saddened to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family. He will be missed.
Meryl Eschen Mills, '07
* * *
Professor Rice was my first legal mentor. He challenged and inspired me to learn more than rules of law. His method of teaching started with intimidation but ultimately nurtured confidence in his students. I was absolutely honored to work with him as a Deans Fellow. My dad passed away before I graduated from WCL, but Paul's sincere pride and bear hug helped fill that void as I accepted my diploma. My condolences to all of Paul's family and friends. It is with sadness that I say goodbye, but I will endeavor to inspire legal thinking in memory of Paul Rice.
Libby Stennes, '97
* * *
When I first signed up for Professor Rice's class, I had not previously heard anything about it. I just needed to take Evidence. A few friends of mine then recommended switching out of it because he was "tough;" I stayed in the class, along with one of my roommates at the time. During the class, over the next year or two at WCL, and even now, I loved that class. Professor Rice was one of the most enthusiastic, energetic, and, at the same time, rigorous and challenging professors I have ever had. He told relevant stories, made us laugh - even though most of us were, at first, afraid of being called on to recite the facts of a case, and still taught effectively and fairly.
I remember his exam was difficult, but I remember coming out of it and thinking "That was fair." I took his class in the fall, and, as a tennis fan, I always enjoyed that he would say he looked forward to going home to watch the U.S. Open. He always said "hi" when I saw him at Wagshal's. Maybe we do impressions of people because we want to emulate them or their style; I often enjoy doing impressions of former professors who I was fond of, whether it's some funny saying they used to say or how they acted, and over the last two years, I would say I've done my fair share of Professor Rice impressions. Mostly, though, my impressions were because of his zeal and his energy.
I think he always had a bounce in his step, and I know that I will always remember, wherever I practice law, the rules of Evidence, but more importantly, to have some fun and kindness to what I do, in part, because of the memories I have from a semester in Professor Rice's class.
I am incredibly saddened by the news of his passing, and I will keep him and his family and WCL in my thoughts and prayers.
Tom Dorwart, 4th year