It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that Jean Braucher passed away yesterday. Jean was my co-author, my co-blogger, and my friend. This news came suddenly this morning for all but her closest family and friends who were aware of her illness.
The official record will show that Jean was a giant among bankruptcy and contracts scholars. Her work on local legal culture in bankruptcy courts is one of the standard references on the topic. As Dov Cohen and I were trying to understand the disparities we were seeing in our data among local bankruptcy courts, we turned to Jean. She joined our research team, and her understanding of the very fine detail of how the bankruptcy courts worked in action made the project's experimental materials a success. Jean also was widely known for her work on contracts law, being one of the authors of the seminal Contracts: Law in Action textbook.
That is the official record. I last saw Jean just in October at the symposium in honor of Bill Whitford where Jean presented her latest work. Bill exhorted us to study how the law actually worked and how it actually worked for the least-privileged in society. Jean lived that research ethos and spread it to others. She helped to nurture a small gathering at the Law & Society Association that has grown into a section of close to 100 household finance experts from around the globe. She was continuing to play a leadership role for that group while encouraging the next generation of scholars to become leaders in their own right.
Looking back at what I have written seems a paltry overview of the big footprint that Jean leaves in the academic world. Her work touched so many others. Tomorrow I will give thanks that Jean was part of my professional life.
In the coming days, I hope to gather thoughts and remembrances of Jean into a longer blog post. If you knew or worked with Jean and have something to pass along, please email me.
Update (12/2/2014): A new post collects comments that were emailed to me. I have closed the comments on this post and encourage new comments to be left on the new post.