Campus & Community

HLS professor Westfall dies at 78

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David Westfall, who held the John L. Gray and Carl F. Schipper Jr. professorships at Harvard Law School (HLS), died Dec. 7 surrounded by his family. He was 78.

Westfall possessed wide-ranging expertise in labor law, family law, and estate planning. He was the author, co-author, or editor of a number of scholarly publications. His volume on family law was published in 1994, and the fourth edition of his casebook and supplement on “Estate Planning Law and Taxation” (with George P. Mair and Rebecca Benson) appeared in 2001.

In a recent statement to the HLS community, Dean Elena Kagan said: “Before he became a colleague, David was a teacher of mine, and he was always exceedingly generous to me. I will miss him, as I know a great many of you will. David served this School devotedly for 50 years, and we should all be grateful.”

He joined the Harvard Law faculty in 1955 and became a tenured professor of law in 1958. In 1980 he assumed the John L. Watson Jr. chair, which he held until 1983, when he became the John L. Gray Professor of Law. Since 1996, he had also occupied the Carl F. Schipper Jr. chair.

Westfall received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri in 1947 and received his LL.B. in 1950 from HLS, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review. He practiced law at Bell, Boyd, Marshall & Lloyd in Chicago from 1950 to 1955.

A memorial service at HLS will be scheduled for the new year.