Professor Aaron Twerski, the Irwin and Jill Cohen Professor of Law, was honored in January with the William L. Prosser Award, given by the Association of American Law Schools in recognition of outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching, and service in torts and compensation systems. Twerski, a preeminent authority on products liability, has been a faculty member at Brooklyn Law School for nearly 30 years.
“There is no one more deserving of this award than Aaron Twerski,” said Dean Nick Allard. “His influential and prolific scholarship is well known and admired not only by his colleagues in the academy, but by the judges, practitioners, and students who also have been the beneficiaries of his wisdom and brilliant teaching.”
“It was an emotional moment for me,” Twerski said of the award ceremony. “To be inducted into an exclusive club that includes such legendary scholars as Leon Green, Guido Calabresi, Wex Malone, and Page Keeton was meaningful. When I began my career some 50 years ago, I could not in my wildest dreams have imagined that I would receive such recognition from my colleagues.”
In his remarks upon receiving the award, Twerski, a Hasidic Orthodox Jew, reflected on a career that was almost derailed by religious prejudice. When he was interviewing for teaching positions in the mid-1960s, he was told by interviewers that he was “too religious” and was asked: “Do you really have to wear that distinctive garb?” While discouraged, he persevered and was finally offered his first position at Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh. Twerski worries that Muslim and Sikh job candidates may face the same prejudice today. His essay on the topic, “A Career in Law That Almost Didn’t Happen,” appeared in the Jan. 19 edition of the New York Law Journal.
A prolific writer on torts and products liability law, Twerski has published dozens of articles in leading law reviews, and coauthored widely used textbooks including Products Liability: Problems and Process (eighth ed.) and Torts: Cases and Materials (third ed.) with Cornell Law Professor James Henderson, and Choice of Law: Cases and Materials for a Concise Course on Conflict of Laws with Professor Neil Cohen.
Among his numerous distinctions, he was appointed as a special master in the federal 9/11 cases dealing with the injuries claimed by those involved in the cleanup of the World Trade Center site. He was co-reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law (Third) Torts: Products Liability, and he was named the R. Ammi Cutter Reporter for his distinguished performance. Twerski also was honored as an icon of Brooklyn Law School at a gala on Ellis Island last June.