The Brooklyn Law School community lost a cherished member of its faculty with the passing of Professor Eve Cary, who died on September 29, following a brave battle with ovarian cancer. To celebrate her life there will be a memorial service on February 18, 2010 at 4PM in the Moot Court Room at the Law School.
Cary, who joined the Law School in 1986, was an accomplished and highly respected professor, author, and lawyer who was deeply engaged in the social and political issues of her time, including the civil rights, anti-war, and women’s movements. In her twenty-plus years at the Law School, Cary taught Appellate Advocacy, Legal Writing, Criminal Law, and Prisoner’s Rights. “She was a beloved faculty member, valued by colleagues and students alike as a mentor, advisor, and dear friend,” said Dean Joan G. Wexler.
Cary's love of the law sprung from the opportunity she had in 1967 to work with the New York Civil Liberties Union on the Police Practices Project, the first in-depth study of the sociology and street practices of the NYPD. It resulted in a ground-breaking book, Police Power (1969, Pantheon Books), in which Cary was credited for her interviews of criminal defendants, research, and editing. With the support and encouragement of NYCLU's staff lawyers, Cary decided to attend New York University School of Law and later returned to the NYCLU as its first woman staff counsel. She litigated a number of important First Amendment and other constitutional cases involving the rights of women and prisoners.
In 1977, Cary joined the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the Legal Aid Society of New York, ultimately becoming its Senior Supervising Attorney, arguing cases before the New York Court of Appeals. She left Legal Aid in 1985 to become a Legal Writing Instructor at the Law School, and for the next twenty-three years dedicated herself to teaching, mentoring, and scholarship.
“Eve was an extraordinary person and teacher,” said Professor Mollie Falk, a longtime friend and colleague of Cary’s. Together they attended Sarah Lawrence College and also worked at Legal Aid.
Cary was a widely published author of scholarly works that reflected her twin passions for criminal law and civil rights. She was the general editor of the ACLU’s series of Know Your Rights books. She co-authored and was an editor of New York Criminal Law (1997, Supps. 1998–2009), and co-authored four editions of Appellate Advocacy: Principles and Practice with her colleague Ursula Bentele. “Working with Eve was such a delight,” said Professor Bentele. “She had a way of making even dry and technical subject matter come alive. She had a great knack for thinking of concrete, and often funny, examples to illustrate ways to be an effective advocate.”
“She was a wonderful colleague,” said Professor Marilyn Walter, Director of the Legal Writing Program. “She was an extremely kind person and was very supportive, helpful, and interested in other people. She was also greatly respected by practitioners because of her exceptional contributions to the area of criminal law, in particular with her book, New York Criminal Law.”
“I really respected the experience she brought to teaching legal writing,” said Professor Elizabeth Fajans. “She helped students put law school in context so that they didn’t get overwhelmed by the experience. She was very sympathetic and not doctrinaire.”
Cary was also an active member of the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Committee, helping to organize and participate on panels addressing issues of civil rights law. “She was always coming up with wonderful ideas for panel discussions and symposia, and contributing in important ways to the growth of the Program,” said Professor Elizabeth Schneider, Director of the Sparer Program and a classmate of Cary's at NYU Law School.
Cary’s students recall her as an approachable and supportive mentor. Her door was always open to students and every year at Christmastime she opened up her home and invited all of her students to attend her annual holiday party.
“Eve was truly a gift to those she loved and taught,” said Lisa Chiarini ’00, who was Cary’s student, research assistant, and close friend. “She mothered everyone. She came to visit me when I had my first child. She was a kind and gentle woman and she cared about all of her students. She gave so much.”
“She was always available to talk during that first hard year of law school,” said Connie Montoya ’00. “We’d finish discussing a paper and then she’d say, ‘How are you doing? How are you feeling?’ She really asked about you. She was a true source of comfort.”
“She tried to help us to understand the work-life balance and how to manage a marriage and family with a legal career,” recalled Rosa Balestrino ’00, who was a newlywed during her first year, and often sought out Cary’s advice. “She was also trying to encourage us to think outside of the box and to understand why we were in law school and what we might do with our lives as lawyers.”
Cary was also known for her irreverent sense of humor. One year, around Halloween, her daughter Anne had a party and wanted her to dye her hair blue. Cary obliged, painting a bright blue streak through her golden hair. Instead of rinsing it out before returning to work, to the surprise of her colleagues and students, she left it in.
She is survived by her husband Richard Greenberg and her children Peter and Anne, a third year BLS student.