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My real acquaintance with Walter Wheeler Cook began in the summer of 1919, when I went on the Yale Law faculty as its greenest member. Cook was then finishing his work at Yale for what proved to be only a temporary hegira to Columbia. Since he was an inveterate office visitor, congenitally disposed to debate everything from the latest theory of jurisprudence to the smallest detail of school operation, and since he took an especial interest in the younger faculty, I would undoubtedly have seen much of him in any event. It so happened, however, that I was given a small office which opened up into his. Hence chance thus put me in the natural flow of the burning lava from his mind, and in con- sequence daily and almost hourly I basked in its glow when I did not wither in its heat. This was for me a postgraduate legal education of inestimable value. By it, as I can now see, my legal thinking and my approach to legal education and the judicial process were permanently shaped. I regard Cook as, save Holmes himself, the earliest and still in some ways the most pre-eminent of our legal realists; and though the debate as to the definition of a realist is likely to continue, I doubt if there will be real question of Cook's outstanding place in the movement and hence in American legal thought.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Walter Wheeler Cook, 38 Illinois Law Review 341 (1944)