Former Dean of Washington and Lee School of Law Dies
By Jim Vassallo
Former Washington and Lee University School of Law dean Roy Lee Steinheimer Jr., passed away on Thursday at the age of 98, according to a release from the school.
Steinheimer served as dean of the law school from 1968 to 1983 and was the Robert E.R. Huntley Professor of Law Emeritus at the school.
"Roy Steinheimer's deanship was a pivotal one for Washington and Lee's Law School," said W&L President Ken Ruscio. "He left a genuine legacy, and more than any other individual shaped the Law School that exists today. His contributions were profound, and we shall be forever grateful for his service and dedication to the University."
Nora V. Demleitner, the current dean of the law school and the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law, said the following in the release:
"Dean Steinheimer made the Law School a truly national institution and provided it with a vision for teaching, scholarship and professional service. Personally, I consider it the greatest honor and a powerful responsibility to be the Steinheimer Professor. It is not only his vision as a dean but also his impact as a teacher that lives on through our graduates."
Steinheimer earned his law degree from the University of Michigan law School in 1940. He practiced law in New York City with Sullivan & Cromwell for 10 years prior to returning to the University of Michigan as a professor from 1950 to 1968.
Steinheimer remained Washington and Lee as a law professor after retiring from the dean’s post in 1983. He retired from the school in 1987. He worked as an adjunct professor from 1989 to 1999 despite his retirement.
Steinheimer’s main focus in law was the commercial aspect, working on the Uniform Commercial Code committees for the American and Michigan state bar associations. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute and the American Arbitration Association.
Sam Calhoun was the school’s associate dean in 2002. Calhoun said, "When he was playing pool with you, or golf, he could be perfectly one of the fellows. But as dean there was some distance there. I think that's the style of some gifted leaders."
Lewis LaRue was the Class of 1958 Alumni Professor of Law Emeritus in 2002. LaRue said, "He had the instincts of a builder. He came to the Law School with a vision, and he won support very quickly. The faculty trusted him to do what needed to be done. He was persuasive and impressive."
Steinheimer was nicknamed “The Sky Dean” due to his love of flying. He piloted a Beech Bonanza plane until he was 76-years-old.
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