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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Professor Pamela Champine

I did not know her, but the tax/estate planning blogs I track the closest both report the recent death of Professor Pamela Champine of New York Law School, at the age of 44. Those reports are on the TaxProf Blog and the Wills, Trusts and Estates Prof Blog.

New York Law School has published a press release regarding this sad event:
Pamela R. Champine, Professor of Law, died on March 8, 2009 at her home in Greenwich Village. She was 44 years old. A member of the New York Law School faculty since 2000, Professor Champine taught Property; Wills, Trusts, & Future Interests; Federal Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates; and Problems of Timing, and was Director of the Core Curriculum in the Law School’s Graduate Tax Program. Before joining New York Law School, she was an associate in the trusts and estates department of Hughes Hubbard, was law secretary to New York County Surrogate Eve Preminger, and also served as Principal Court Attorney in the New York County Surrogate’s Court. Active in both the New York City Bar and the New York State Bar Association, Professor Champine was elected an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 2007.

Although Professor Champine’s first scholarly contributions dealt with taxation and trusts and estates, her focus soon shifted to the highly important and surprisingly understudied questions surrounding capacity and donative transfers. Her final publication as a co-author of Competence in the Law: From Legal Theory to Clinical Application is an outstanding summary of the state of the law and a sad reminder of how much has been lost through her death.

In a moving tribute announcing the news of Professor Champine’s death to the faculty, Professor William P. LaPiana, her close friend and colleague, talked about the great joy she found in teaching. “Pam saw every day of her life as a law professor as a gift,” he said. “She counted it a privilege to teach, read, think, and write, and next to her family, it was what gave her life meaning.” Professor LaPiana added that Professor Champine was “as inspiring as she was effective as she led her students to a thorough understanding of the subjects to which she devoted her efforts. She brought innovative techniques to the classroom and showed her students that what they might have once thought was dry and uninteresting was full of life.”

“I know the entire New York Law School community joins me in our shared grief over Pam's passing,” said Dean and President Richard A. Matasar. “She was one of the most courageous people I have ever known. Through her illness, she showed a continuous love for her profession, her students, and the law. We all have missed her, and the void she leaves will never be filled.”

Professor Champine is survived by her husband David Simonetti and their daughter Isabella.
I note from my own research that Professor Champine recently co-authored Competence in the Law (March 2008).

Blessings to her family and co-workers.


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