Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Southwestern Community Mourns the Loss of Professor Norman Karlin December 01, 2004
Southwestern Community Mourns the Loss of Professor Norman Karlin

Norman Karlin, a highly respected and beloved member of the Southwestern University School of Law faculty for nearly 35 years, passed away on December 4, 2004. He died of natural causes.

According to Dean Leigh Taylor, "Professor Karlin was recognized by the entire Southwestern community for his outstanding service to the school, his excellence in scholarship, and his wide ranging contributions to the legal profession and legal education. He was a unique, dedicated and gracious member of our law school family and will be remembered fondly and missed tremendously. Norm Karlin will always be a major figure in the history of Southwestern."

After serving in the United States Army during World War II in both Europe and Asia where he earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Professor Karlin completed his law degree at the University of Chicago in 1949. He became a member of the Illinois State Bar and practiced law in Chicago for more than 20 years, specializing in zoning and land use law as a partner in the firm of Hoffman & Buckley and later Siegan & Karlin.

In 1970, Professor Karlin moved to Los Angeles and joined the Southwestern faculty where he became one of the key architects of Southwestern's Conceptual Approach to Legal Education (SCALE), an intensive two-year program of study leading to the Juris Doctor degree. He taught in SCALE from its inception in 1975, covering virtually every aspect of that curriculum with a main focus on Constitutional Law, Contracts, and Law and Economics. In the traditional program, he taught Contracts and the Private Property and Eminent Domain Seminar. He became Professor of Law Emeritus in 1997.

In characterizing Professor Karlin's long association with Southwestern, Professor Karen Smith said, "Norm Karlin was a gifted educator, beloved by students. He was the 'Pied Piper' of law and economics. All of his students had both tremendous respect and great affection for the man who was not only a model of intellectual passion, but also of civility. He was truly a gentleman and a scholar, and anyone who was taught by Norm Karlin was touched by Norm Karlin."

In recognition of Professor Karlin's "outstanding service to the school, his excellence in scholarship and his contributions to the legal profession and legal education," he was named as Southwestern's inaugural Irwin R. Buchalter Distinguished Professor of Law in 1987, as well as the first Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law in 1993.

An enthusiastic and tireless volunteer, Professor Karlin also founded the Southwestern Dean's Circle, one of the law school's major support groups, which he chaired for more than a decade. In recognition of his dedication to the law school, he was honored as "Outstanding Friend" by the Southwestern Alumni Association in 1991. In 1999, hundreds of his former students and colleagues paid tribute to him at an event to establish the Norman Karlin Scholarship Fund. Later that year, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Southwestern.

Professor Karlin was active in professional organizations and served as a guest speaker or coordinator for numerous conferences pertaining to land use issues and constitutional law, both at the national and local level. His articles and chapters on these subjects have appeared in several law reviews and texts. His article "Back to the Future: From Nollan to Lochner" (17 SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 627 (1988)) was cited extensively including in an opinion by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and his chapter "Substantive Due Process: A Doctrine for Regulatory Control" appeared in RIGHTS AND REGULATION: ETHICAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES (Ballinger, 1982), which won the 1983 Washington Honor Medal for Excellence presented by the Freedom Foundation. In 1981, Professor Karlin was invited to address the President's Commission on Housing.

Professor Karlin served on several boards for many years, most recently for the Reason Foundation, the Washington Legal Foundations, the UCLA Extension Attorney Assistant Training Program, and the Law and Liberty Project of the Institute for Humane Studies. He was also an adjunct faculty member for the Institute of Justice in Washington, D.C.

A long-time resident of Beverly Hills, and more recently Los Angeles, Professor Karlin is survived by Marge, his beloved wife of 42 years; daughter Ann Kline; sons Louis, Charles and Alex; grandchildren James, Aaron, Veronica, Natasha and Audrey Karlin, and Cooper Kline; sister Thelma Dobkin; and many nieces and nephews. A private military funeral will be held later this week. A special memorial service will be held at Southwestern on Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. Information regarding the service may be obtained by calling the law school's Development Office.

The family has requested that friends and former students who wish to memorialize Professor Karlin direct their donations to the Professor Norman Karlin Scholarship Fund at Southwestern.