Brooklyn Law School Mourns the Passing of Professor Emerita Marilyn Walter


The Brooklyn Law School community is mourning the loss of Professor Emerita Marilyn Walter, a member of the faculty for 38 years and former director of the Law School’s highly acclaimed Legal Writing Program. Professor Walter died on Oct. 5 at age 75.

Walter, a native of Toronto, Canada, was a national leader in legal writing and research instruction for nearly four decades, beginning in 1977 when she taught legal writing at New York University School of Law. In 1980, she joined the Brooklyn Law School faculty as director of the Legal Writing Program. Her book, Writing and Analysis in the Law, co-authored with Professor Elizabeth Fajans and Northwestern University School of Law Professor Helene Shapo, has been an essential text on effective legal writing for several generations of law students. She also co-authored Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs, which has been used to reshape and strengthen legal research and writing programs at law schools across the country.

“Professor Walter was a true leader in the field of legal research and writing,” said Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton. “She has left an enduring legacy of excellence and innovation, not only in our nationally recognized Legal Writing Programs but at numerous law schools where her influence will be felt for years to come. As a teacher, she inspired generations of our students to excel, and many of them, in turn, also have been recognized for distinguished legal writing. On behalf of our Brooklyn Law School community, I extend our deepest sympathy to Professor Walter’s entire family.”

“Marilyn was a model of thoughtfulness and professionalism,” said Professor Elizabeth Fajans, who was Walter’s close colleague and friend. “She was gracious, supportive and kind, giving her time and attention generously to students, colleagues, and the profession. She was far from flamboyant, but she had an often-unexpected dry humor.”

Walter was a sought-after leader and scholar in her field. She served as chair of the Legal Writing section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and as a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute. She also was a member of the ABA’s Committee on Communication Skills and an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, as well as a speaker at numerous legal writing conferences.

Walter was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education, which is presented to “the finest law school teacher who has promoted and advanced legal writing.” She also was honored with the AALS Legal Writing Award in recognition of her “pioneering leadership, extraordinary vision, and outstanding service.”

Walter received her B.A. from University of Toronto and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. After law school, she served as a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project for four years before she joined NYU Law School.

Walter is survived by her husband, Ron, her daughters, Alison and Amy (Chuck Szymanski), sister, Thelma Rosenberg, brother, Hartley Rosenberg, and granddaughter, Maya.