Father Robert Drinan, S.J. died on Sunday. Father Drinan was a founder of modern (post-Watergate) legal ethics and a colorful, important character in American political history, having been a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment proceedings and an outspoken critic of American activities in Vietnam and Cambodia while he was in Congress. Father Drinan was also a professor at Boston College (actually the Dean) and then at Georgetown. While getting my JD at Georgetown, I was blessed to spend a considerable amount of time with Fr. Drinan as an Editor on the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, created by Fr. Drinan and still the only ethics journal in the country, and when I took several of his classes, including his Advanced Legal Ethics Seminar. Fr. Drinan loved teaching and he had an endless supply of experience from which to teach.
Despite my obvious love and respect for Fr. Drinan, I was not going to post about his passing on the Blog because I could not see how he had much to do with intellectual property law or Chicago (he was a Boston man who loved the BC sports teams, it really hurt him when he lost our friendly wager over the 98 Wolverines-BC Eagles NCAA Hockey National Championship). But it turns out I was wrong, Fr. Drinan also played an important role in shaping IP as a member of the House IP subcommittee, according to Bill Patry. Father Drinan will be missed. He was a great man and an amazing teacher who brought kindness and warmth to everything he did and all he met.
You can read more on Father Drinan, among other places, at the WSJ Law Blog and Georgetown’s touching page of student, staff and faculty tributes.