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Gene Rostow was probably the greatest dean in the history of the Yale Law School. When he became dean, the school was a depleted and divided place. In the first seven years of his tenure some twenty-two people—Alex Bickel, Joe Bishop, Charles Black, Robert Bork, Ward Bowman, Frank Coker, Steve Duke, Ronald Dworkin, Abe Goldstein, Joe Goldstein, Quint Johnstone, Leon Lipson, Bay Manning, Ellen Peters, Lou Pollak, Charlie Reich, John Simon, Clyde Summers, Robert Stevens, Harry Wellington, Ralph Winter, and I—joined the permanent faculty. Of this extraordinary group, four—Lou Pollak, Abe Goldstein, Harry Wellington, and I—succeeded him as dean, so that from 1955 to 1994, either Gene or one of his kids led the school. This was Gene's long legacy as dean, a legacy all the more impressive when you observe, as Gene often did, that deans have no power. (He was fond of saying that, as dean, the only things he could decide were the placement of portraits and the gender designation of lavatories—and that, even as to these, it was not all that clear.)

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