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About forty-five years ago, in my second year as a student at the Yale Law School, an extraordinary group of new faculty members arrived. They included Alexander Bickel, Abe Goldstein, Leon Lipson, Ellen Peters, Harry Wellington, and Joe Goldstein. Together with those who had preceded them by a year, like Louis Pollak and Quinton Johnstone, there were fourteen or so new arrivals. I believed then, and continue to think now, that no law school has ever had so remarkable an influx and so magnificent a burst of creative energy. The new kids—for most were very young—were brilliant, testy, different from each other and from the preexisting Yale Law School faculty. And yet they fit right in, with a school that already had more than its share of academic superstars, and with that special atmosphere that defined the Yale Law School then, as it does today.
Even in that amazing group, Joe Goldstein stood out from the first. Others will speak of his scholarship, of the depth of his knowledge, originality, and teaching capacity in his chosen fields—from which—like so many others—I have greatly benefited. But in this short tribute, I want, instead, to recall Joe as my teacher in a field he knew virtually nothing about, had—I believe—never taught before, and would certainly never teach again . . . the law of bankruptcy.
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