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The People

In Memoriam: John Slain, 1927–2014

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John “Jack” Slain ’55, professor of law emeritus, passed away on September 27, 2014, at age 87. Slain played a foundational role in building NYU Law’s law and business pedagogy. He regularly taught Corporations, Accounting for Lawyers, and Survey of Securities Regulation, all among the Law School’s most popular classes for many years. Despite retiring in 2002, Slain continued to teach through Fall 2013.

After graduating from Providence College and NYU Law, Slain worked as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and later as vice president and general counsel of AIM Companies. Before joining the NYU Law faculty in 1977, he taught at Indiana University School of Law–Indianapolis and Ohio State University College of Law. Throughout his career, Slain mentored scores of corporate lawyers, many of whom went on to become partners at major Wall Street firms.

Slain and Associate Dean for Career Services Irene Dorzback bonded over their mutual concern for students’ employment. “What emerged through his storytelling was how much he knew about the careers of so many students and alumni,” says Dorzback. “It was very clear that he had maintained relationships with many of them over a long time.”

Pauline Newman Professor of Law Rochelle Dreyfuss recalls striking up a conversation on a Metro-North train with a Law School alumnus who asked if Slain was still on the faculty. “I said yes, and he told me that Jack was far and away his favorite professor, and the one from whom he learned the most.” To Dreyfuss’s surprise, the man in front of them then turned around to praise Slain similarly— followed by yet another man across the aisle.

“Around 20 minutes later,” continues Dreyfuss, “as the train pulled into my station and I walked to the door, someone in a seat fairly far from where I’d been sitting stopped me. He needed to tell me that Jack was his very favorite teacher, too, and he too thought Jack was the kindest person he ever knew.”

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