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Another Tribute to Jean Braucher: On the Lighter Side

posted by Nathalie Martin

Bob’s post made me cry. Jean was an incredible scholar and colleague. She also had a fun, light side that I will forever cherish, and that I share here. 

I met Jean about 18 years ago through my mentor Bill Woodward (formerly of Temple University Law, now at Santa Clara Law), Jean and Bill were very close academic friends and he thought Jean and I would also hit it off.  He was right. From the very beginning, she helped me with everything from casebook selection to choosing (and negotiating) my job here. Not too long after I moved to New Mexico Law, Jean moved to the Arizona Law faculty. Bill used to ask me “do you ever see Jean out there?” as if we’d now run into each other regularly, since we lived just 7 hours apart by car. The west is a big place, for all your easterners out there, but actually, Bill was on to something. Whatever the reason, Jean herself became a mentor and close friend.

We organized a few conferences together, most recently at Washington and Lee in 2011 with Jim Hawkins (Houston law Center). Wherever we were, we always stayed up late, drinking and gossiping and just having fun. One year at Richard Alderman’s Conference in Houston, my husband said “that’s it, no more hanging out with Jean Braucher” (Mary Spector you were also implicated)

because when with these ladies, I too often failed to call him on time as promised. When I gave a talk at Jean’s school and she was looking for people to hang out with me at dinners, she said she’d seek out the intersection of “sane” and “fun” but she knew with me, if a choice had to be made, it would have to be fun. After all, sanity is overrated.

My favorite memories were when Jean helped me put together a list of potential outside reviewers for my scholarship, at both my promotion time and for my tenure review (yes it is odd to do outside reviews at promotion time, I know, and here, the candidate puts together one list, the committee another, also odd). Jean’s first thought at the promotion stage was Bill Whitford, yes it would be Bill Whitford, she decided, plus a few others. She then called back in a tizzy (not really, Jean was never in a tizzy), and asked me to retrieve the list and remove Bill because at elite schools (like Wisconsin apparently), the reviewer was required to say something negative in order to have credibility, and perhaps we should pick people from lesser schools, since this was supposed to be my list. I had forgotten all about this until thinking about this tribute. It is cute how she tried to protect me from you, Bill. 

We will all miss Jean.  I cannot actually believe that she is gone, but it’ll surely sink in at the next conference. Of course we will also miss her contributions to Credit Slips.


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