In Memoriam: Professor Anne Fleming

August 28, 2020

Professor Anne Fleming, a beloved rising star on the Georgetown Law faculty, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday from natural causes. She was 40 years old.

“I know each of us is heartbroken,” Dean William M. Treanor told emotional faculty and staff during a widely attended online gathering to remember Fleming on Thursday. “She was really extraordinary in every way.”

From her groundbreaking scholarship at the previously untraveled crossroads of consumer law, poverty law and legal history, to her unflagging devotion to her students, to the kindness and generosity that she radiated to all that knew her, Fleming’s presence was deeply felt and is now achingly missed by many across the Georgetown Law community.

Fleming was full of contradictions that in her case somehow fit perfectly together. An understated overachiever, she was thoughtful and unassuming, and her wry, dry wit could abruptly leave colleagues in stitches, and she had a knack for holding anyone’s attention with her quiet confidence.

“She had a tremendously measured and powerful way of speaking that was both thoughtful and compelling so that you wanted to lean in and listen to her and hear what she had to say,” said her friend and colleague, Professor Hillary Sale.

Fleming was an out-of-town commuter to the Law Center, from the Manhattan home she shared with her husband, Paul Serritella, senior counsel at the Royal Bank of Canada. Yet she was incredibly present in the community, deeply committed to her students — who were often heard laughing and chatting in her 4th floor McDonough office — and was an impressively thorough and engaged member of faculty committees, including that for entry-level appointments.

Fleming taught what some might consider some of the drier law school subject matter — contracts, bankruptcy, and secured financial transactions — but introduced her many first-year students to the study of law in a way that was surprisingly personal, supportive and caring. “I would trust her with my life,” one student wrote in a class evaluation.

Fleming had climbed the heights of the academy to earn a B.A. from Yale, a J.D. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania, but had also worked deep in the legal aid trenches, including at South Brooklyn Legal Services helping homeowners facing foreclosure at the height of the financial crisis.

As a legal historian, her meticulous research and stories of real people’s financial struggles transported readers to relate to some of the deep indignities of the Jim Crow era, all the while illuminating structural forces that recast the present in a new light.

Professor Anne Fleming teaching a class

She started her academic life off with a bang while a Climenko fellow at Harvard, impressing future colleague Professor Adam Levitin with a paper that upturned the framework for understanding one of the most famous cases in contract law – the Walker-Thomas case widely taught to first-year law students.

Fleming illuminated why this case involving so little money was litigated in the first place, probing the historical record to reveal a widespread predatory practice at the time of rent-to-own furniture stores preying upon Washington D.C.’s Black residents, and how the public interest groups united to bring a test case to defend the community’s interests.

She also found the original contract, as well as an unpublished opinion in the case that marks a previously unacknowledged fork in the road in the birth of consumer law. Even though the outcome was the same, the alternate opinion reflected a path not taken in its focus on unscrupulous business practices rather than the unjust impact on vulnerable consumers — and the need to protect them in particular.

“It changed the way I teach the case,” said Levitin, who mourned the loss of “not just a wonderful colleague, but a beautiful soul.”

Fleming’s academic work was driven by a palpable empathy for marginalized people facing outsized challenges to economic dignity, but it was also shaped by a fierce commitment to unearthing and understanding all sides of an issue — including the business interests offering low-income individuals payday loans and other forms of small credit that Fleiming dubbed “fringe finance.”

As a result her first book, City of Debtors: A Century of Fringe Finance, won prestigious awards from both academic historians and practicing commercial lawyers.

In a 2018 interview Fleming said “I’ve been thrilled at how many people seem to have discovered the book and have found something of value in it. History doesn’t tell us how to fix our current problems, but it is a reminder that we can look to the past for some guidance in thinking about how to develop solutions for the present.”

It was Fleming’s ability to weave different worlds together in a dynamic, broadly relevant way that gave her mentor Professor Dan Ernst great hope for the future of his close knit field of legal history even before she joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 2014 and received tenure last year.

“I saw her as someone who I thought – that’s how the field’s going to reproduce itself and go on for the next generation and the generation after that,” Ernst said.

Fleming, too had great hopes for the future even at this challenging current moment. Shortly before her death, Fleming was excited to learn that Dean Treanor had nominated her for the American Law Institute’s Young Scholars Medal. She was also energized by progress of her second book project, focusing on the plight of Black debtors in 1930s Birmingham, Ala., the “bankruptcy capital of the world,” and the innovative court that inspired the modern federal bankruptcy system.

“She was passionate about her work and she was dedicated to her work… and she cared about her work because she cared about what it meant for racial justice, poverty and inequality,” said Professor Lilian Faulhaber, a former law school classmate of Fleming’s.

“This new project fit together with just how much she cared about the world and how she wanted to give all of us the knowledge to make the world better,” Faulhaber said at the Thursday faculty and staff gathering.

It already broke her heart, she said, to think of eventually returning to a 4th floor hallway without the prospect of dropping in on Fleming, warm, welcoming and fun as she always was. Several colleagues lamented the community’s inability to gather in person to navigate together the gaping hole her death has left.

“It’s lovely to see all of your faces and it’s lovely to have this opportunity to reflect on Anne and what she brought to us,” an emotional Dean Treanor said in closing. “You know, she was an extraordinary professor, but as we’ve heard again and again, she was an even more amazing person. The loss that we have is just inconceivable, but i’m just so grateful to have had her as a colleague and have her in my life.”

A funeral mass will be held on Monday, August 31 at 11:00 am at Holy Trinity Church, 213 W. 82nd Street, New York, NY 10024 (https://htcny.org/). The church has asked that social distancing be maintained; however, seating should be available for those who wish to attend. The family also hopes to plan one or more virtual memorial services for those who cannot attend in person. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Anne’s name to a charity of your choice.

You may also add your personal reflections of Professor Anne Fleming that will be included in the In Remembrance section below.

 

In Remembrance

Anne was such a wonderful person, one of the very best I know in any setting. She was invariably kind and conscientious, whether she was dealing with colleagues, students, administrators, or staff. I always learned from talking with her, and I always came away happier than I was when the conversation started. When I got things wrong, she had the most diplomatic, tactful way of correcting me that I have ever seen in an academic. Her students thought she was the best in every way; they would have taken a course in Parking Law if she were teaching it. I sincerely believe that she was the single most popular member of the Georgetown Law faculty: everyone who had the slightest contact with her adored her, and those that did not knew of her stellar reputation. She may be the only member of the faculty about whom I have never heard a single negative word.

In my ten years at Georgetown, the single contribution of which I am the proudest was pestering the Appointments Committee to hire Anne. She was competing against two people I knew, one of whom was in my field. But Anne's talent, her dedication to the work of a teacher and a scholar, her brilliance, and her humanity stood out so clearly that it was obvious she would be the best hire for us in many years. In truth, I have no basis for claiming a real contribution there: those same qualities were obvious to the Committee and I am sure she would easily have received an offer anyway.

Although senior faculty are supposed to be helpful to junior ones, in practice she gave me much more help with thinking about how to teach Contracts and with writing about low-income people and debt than I could ever give her. I will always be deeply grateful to her.

It is incomprehensible to me that she is gone. Our institution will go forward, as institutions do, but we will be much weaker, much poorer, much less kind, much less imaginative, and much less human without her.

— David Super, Professor, Georgetown Law

I am so incredibly sad to learn about Anne's passing. My first feeling was shock; my next was how incredibly unfair it was that someone so talented and so kind had been taken so soon.

Anne started at Georgetown the year before I did, and she did not wait to pay it forward. The summer before I joined in fall 2015 she was already reaching out to make sure I was set up for my fall semester course. Although she was incredibly busy, she took the time to have coffee with me right before my first class, as I tried to navigate the nerves and complications that inevitably accompany that initial experience. Over the years, I was always grateful to see her smiling face around the law school.

I always felt that her comments were unusually incisive and thoughtful during faculty workshops, and I was so impressed by her research when I attended her City of Debtors book event. My respect and admiration for Anne grew when we served together on the entry-level appointments committee last year.

Anne would often distill, in a kind but firm way, inchoate thoughts that I had on candidates that I could not easily put into words. Her judgment was impeccable -- she often saw hidden gems and flaws in candidates' profiles that, once she mentioned them, completely changed my views.

I was so grateful to learn from her during our long meetings and deliberations. With her humor, wit and wisdom, she turned what could have been a slog into a pleasant and enjoyable process.

I am so sorry for the loss that her husband Paul and her other family and friends must be feeling right now. The Georgetown Law community has suffered a great loss -- Anne Fleming was truly one of a kind, and I will deeply miss her.

— Neel Sukhatme, Associate Professor, Georgetown Law

I remember meeting Anne at my first Faculty Retreat. I did not know very many faculty members and Anne was extremely kind in reaching out to me. I have never forgotten her gentle warmth and friendliness. I understood quickly that she was a compassionate and caring person, in addition to being a brilliant scholar. I am extremely sad that we have lost this extraordinary person.

— Anne Marie Whitesell, Professor, Faculty Director, Program on International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, Georgetown Law

In addition to being a world-influencing scholar, Anne was a ray of sunshine every time you would see her at the law center. We will sorely miss her, and so will the world. But she will always be remembered by everyone whose lives she touched.

— Paul Rothstein, Professor, Georgetown Law

While I did not know Anne well she was one of those colleagues that smiled and stopped to talk whenever I saw her. I was always impressed to see her in the hallways or near the elevator with at least 2 or more students conversing with her.

It was clear that her students adored her and that she was a terrific teacher, in no small part because she was a brilliant scholar. Still hard to believe she won't be gracing us with her presence. I will miss seeing her and feel heartbroken that such a bright light was taken from us so prematurely. My deepest condolences to her husband and family on their incalculable loss.

— Sheila Foster, Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy, Georgetown Law

I was devastated when I heard the news about Anne. She was a bright and shining star on our faculty, who stood out for all the best reasons. Anne was a dedicated and gifted teacher, a brilliant and award-winning scholar, and, most importantly, a warm, generous, and caring person, who treated everyone she encountered with kindness, dignity, and respect. And she herself was uncommonly dignified, full of excellence and integrity in everything she did and put her mind to.

It’s heartbreaking that someone so young, with so many talents and so much of her life and career ahead of her, has been taken from her family and friends, along with her colleagues, students, and the wider world. All of us have suffered an incalculable loss.

— John Mikhail, Professor, Georgetown Law

One of my greatest strokes of luck after being hired at Georgetown was having Anne Fleming assigned to be my “Faculty Angel.” Who would not want Anne to help shepherd them during an uncertain first year on a new job, to rely on to answer questions both serious and trivial, that were too weighty or too embarrassing to ask others? Her competence and kindness made me breathe easier, and it was not long before I realized that she had that effect on everyone at the institution, junior and senior faculty alike. Anne had judgment that anyone would trust; she would always know what to do, and if she did not, it was because no one could or because it was not worth knowing.

Although her level of competence itself was amazing, what was really remarkable about it was her calm and friendly way of fielding questions, challenges, and tasks, as if they were no big deal—as if she weren’t coordinating countless other efforts and supporting an unknowably high number of other people, including students, faculty, colleagues at other institutions, and family. As I looked to her while stepping hesitantly around the school for the first many months, often feeling overwhelmed, she never for an instant made me feel as if she were too busy for the least of my worries or that she did not have time to build a relationship with me—even though she most certainly was, and very likely did not. Over the year, I observed her constantly extending herself in service in this way, all while remaking her own fields of academic inquiry, and never imparting the sense that you were a part of service to her, but rather, a person she was delighted and excited to get to know.

If I say that Anne’s actions spoke louder than her words, it is in no way to diminish the power of her words. In writing and speaking, she was masterful: like everything else she did, she did these things with the greatest precision, wasting no words, yet always also with grace, wit, and kindness. In her talent for economy, Anne always made you see that humor, human dignity, and compassion were a part of what was essential. She communicated this message more forcefully than anyone I know, but never by proclaiming it. When it came to moral matters or her own contributions, she was understated. She expressed these values in the ways she treated people-- from the people whose lives she wrote about in her work to the ways she interacted with people in the course of daily life. Consequently, if you did not see how special she was, you were not paying attention.

It validates her deep belief in people, I think, that everyone did see Anne’s extraordinary qualities and understands how much poorer we are without her, that the world needed more like her. And while none of us can be like Anne, we are all also better for the example she left. I will be grateful forever that I had the opportunity to spend as much time as I did with her over the past year, and to enjoy her humor, warmth, and mind. It was my privilege to learn from her way of being in the world and I will miss her very much.

— K-Sue Park, Associate Professor, Georgetown Law

We had Professor Fleming for Contracts our first semester of law school last year. I looked forward to that class every Tuesday and Thursday. No matter how wildly off-base our answers were, she always encouraging and always kind.

She would highlight whatever part of the answer was correct (however small) and gently steer the class discussion back on course. She never made her students feel small or less than. When I worried that I wasn't cut out for law school, she reassured me that I wasn't in the process of making a colossal and expensive mistake. She was the professor I reached out to this summer when I needed advice and felt overwhelmed.

She had a chicken puppet she introduced while we discussed the Frigaliment case, and she was the reason our class adopted the moniker "the Pepsi Generation." I am heartbroken.

Professor Fleming was brilliant and caring and she will be deeply missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her.

— Laura Clayton, Geogetown Law Student, L'23

I took Contracts with Professor Fleming in the spring of 2018, then didn't see her again on campus for quite some time. We happened to venture into conversation at a conference almost a year later, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that she not only recognized me as a familiar face, but also remembered my name. That was my last in-person encounter with her, and it summed up so succinctly who she was as a human being -- friendly, warm, and thoughtful to the Nth degree.

— David Hou, Georgetown Law Student

Professor Anne Fleming was honestly one of the nicest people at the Georgetown University Law Center. She cared about students individually. She will definitely be missed.

— Krysten Thomas, Georgetown Law 3E

Professor Fleming was everything you could hope for in a professor: kind, compassionate, caring, patient, brilliant. She made class fun and brought joy and love to her work. It was a privilege and an honor to have known her. Often in life the best and most decent people are the ones that leave us early. She will be sorely missed.

— Brick Christensen, Georgetown Law Student

Thank you for being such a wonderful professor. You made my transition to law school so much better than it otherwise would have been, I am forever grateful.

— Erica Yeager, Georgetown Law 2E

Anne was a treasure. The Dean of Students office works with students who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We count on faculty to partner with us in this work with students in their classes.

Anne always went above and beyond. She would not just offer the extension or the helping hand for coursework - she would talk to the student about what they were facing and offer to listen. She walked hand-in-hand with some of our most troubled students to help them graduate the Law Center. She was truly one of the most student-focused faculty members at Georgetown.


From an administrative perspective, she was the model of what the partnership between the administration and faculty can and should be. She will be greatly missed.

— Nicole (Sandoz) Llorenz, Georgetown Law Director of Student Life

Words truly cannot describe the force behind Professor Anne Fleming. Having Anne Fleming's face be the first one you saw as a terrified first-year law student was the absolute best way we could have started law school.

Before even walking into Anne's class, we were all pumped up by the upperclassmen who briefed us about how amazing Anne Fleming is and how she really helped teach you what it meant to read like a law student, think like a lawyer, and how to write in the IRAC form. All of that was true, and more.

Professor Fleming really tried to make sure that her evening students were guided and mentored every bit as much as the full-time students were. She stayed after class every single day even though it was already late by the time we all finished and we were all exhausted.

To say that Georgetown has lost a treasure is one of the biggest understatements of 2020--and that's really saying something considering what a year 2020 has been.

I am sad for Anne's family, the Georgetown community, and all current, former, and future students for this loss. Especially the evening students.

— Shervin Taheran, Georgetown Law Student

Prof. Fleming was such a great professor and I am so grateful to have had her as my contracts professor. She was very kind and always ready to serve as a reference.

When I was in a vehicle accident on my way to class one day and had to miss class, she followed up to check on me and offered to discuss anything I missed. She would always smile and wave back anytime I saw her in the hallways. Prof. Fleming will be greatly missed.

— Akosua, Georgetown Law Student

Thank you for being such a wonderful professor. You made my transition to law school so much better than it otherwise would have been, I am forever grateful.

— Erica Yeager, Georgetown Law 2E

Professor Fleming taught my 1L contracts class spring semester. This comment may sound trite but she made me feel connected to the law school, which I have found difficult as an evening student.

Her class summary on the last day of instruction crystallized for me what law school is and the best of how it could be. I wish I had had her my first semester of law school and, selfishly, I wish I had had the opportunity to take her other classes.

She met with me outside of class and helped me explore different interests I have related to consumer protection.

— Rebecca Farr, Georgetown Law 3E

Professor Fleming was one of the best professors I've ever had. She was kind, thoughtful, and caring. She wanted all students to understand and participate in class. She stayed after class to answer dozens of questions, even though that meant that she had to stay late at night. She was always patient. She wanted us to truly grasp the material.

As a professor, she was a model of pedagogy. Her scholarship is brilliant, but she was so unpretentious. When I congratulated her on her book, she was so modest and encouraged me to get in contact if I or other students wanted to talk about it.

This is a truly devastating loss for everyone in this immediate community and for the world in general. I want to send my condolences to her family and tell them how loved she was by her students.

— Grace Harter, Georgetown Law Student

I feel so lucky to have known her as my 1L professor because she is so kind and caring to her students, and deeply committed to a legal career that make meaningful changes to the world.

She is the one person I never hesitate to reach out to. She cares so much about her students and is kind and patient, always.

— Yiwen Zhang, Georgetown Law Student

I will always remember Professor Fleming for her kindness, gentleness, conscientiousness, her warmth, and her deep care. It is disorienting losing someone who such a positive point of light during a time that often feels so dark. But I know everyone who knew her is better for it, and that we will all cherish our memories with her.

A few moments from my experience with her as a professor stand out.

On the first day of class she went out of her way to acknowledge that female students and students of color generally participate less in law classes. She encouraged these classmates to feel comfortable and participate, and for others to make space for them to do so. It was a small touch, but one that made a real difference. She was always so conscientious and made sure people felt like they belonged.

She gave a mid semester feed-back survey, and I was struck by how seriously she took the feedback and how she verbally explained the ways she was going to even further improve our class experience. She truly listened and she cared, in a way that was extraordinary and real.

We had one class where it was a beautiful day outside and Prof. Fleming decided to do half of our class outside. We all sat in a big circle around her in front of the gym in the beautiful sunlight. She was standing at the center talking contracts, and all her students were smiling.

My section seven class loved her. We gave her gifts on the last day of class, and she was glowing with appreciation. She had called earlier in the semester that UVA would win the NCAA championship. I bought her a UVA hat to give her on the last day of class, but ended up forgetting to bring it. I later emailed her to try to find a time to get her the hat. As is typical of her wonderful and wry sense of humor she responded “Delivering an actual hat is unnecessary (the idea of the hat is sufficient for me), but I should be in my office the following times this week.”

She will be dearly missed.

Rest in Peace.

— Max Lesser, Georgetown Law Student

Professor Fleming was a truly kind and caring person, and I will forever be grateful for the positive impact she had in my life.

I had the privilege of having her as a recommender, something I will always treasure and continue to be grateful for - her continued support and encouragement, her willingness do so, always with a most genuine smile, is something I will never forget and hope to emulate in the future. I was her student 1L year, and aside from being a wonderful teacher (needless to say what a brilliant legal scholar she was), it was obvious how much she truly cared about her students’ academic and professional growth.

Whenever I met with her, she was always available and happy to guide me through whatever I was struggling with - even when I thought my questions were silly, she never seemed to think so. Whenever she spoke with me, it was always with kindness and respect, never exhibiting anything less than the utmost patience, grace, and humility. As a first generation law school graduate, I found those traits reassuring and inspirational. She always treated me like I was a top student even when I felt far from it, and seemed to see my strengths when I myself doubted them. She was always excited to hear of any news I gave her about my career and life as well as happy to continue to lend her support to my next endeavor.

Professor Fleming, Thank You, Always. Rest in Peace.

— Grace V. Figueroa, Georgetown Law Alumna

I took Professor Fleming’s class my first semester of law school, and I don’t think I could have gotten a better introduction to contracts and Georgetown Law. She brought contracts to life with her sense of humor and dedicated approach to teaching.

Every class was meticulously planned and thoughtfully delivered. She went above and beyond to create a welcoming environment for new entrants to the legal profession. It was an honor to learn from such an accomplished, engaging scholar. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

— Alyssa Dickinson, Georgetown Law Student

Thank you, Prof. Fleming. You will be missed!

— Dianne, Georgetown Law Student

Halfway through her class I remember thinking to myself that I need to take as many classes as I can with Professor Fleming. I’ll miss our after class chats - whether or not I had a question I’d make one up because I enjoyed chatting with her about an area of law that she is passionate about. Rest in peace.

— Liam F. Holohan, Georgetown Law Student

I’ll remember Professor Fleming’s intense dedication to us students, clearly brilliant mind, and her upbeat, patient teaching style. But more than anything I’ll remember her as one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. For all her accomplishments, she lacked any pretension and aimed to put everyone at ease.

She was a great role model, especially for young women—a reminder that it’s possible to be powerful and immensely successful without sacrificing kindness and consideration. She always smiled at me when I saw her on campus. Her witty sense of humor shone through in her lectures. God bless Professor Fleming and her family.

— Megan Cairns, Georgetown Law Student, 4E

I worked closely with the bankruptcy community at the Federal Judicial Center, research and education arm of the federal courts.

Professor Fleming was an irresistible force. She loved the work she did, loved talking about that work, and loved connecting to the people affected by that work.

When I contacted her, it was typically to ask her to do even more work. She always acted as if nothing could be more delightful!

I already miss her, personally and professionally. What a loss!

— Denise Neary, Director of Judicial Education, Berkeley Judicial Institute

Professor Fleming's compassion, leadership, and brilliance are unparalleled. From our very first day as 1Es, she made us feel like Georgetown was a place we belonged and that we could (and would) succeed. She made her classroom a community.

On our last day of contracts class, Professor Fleming encouraged us to stay in touch and closed with, "My contribution to the world is teaching all of you."

We will all miss her dearly.

— Dakota Blagg, Georgetown Law Student, 2E

Prof. Fleming was one of the best professors I had at law school. I took Secured Transactions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I could tell she cared so much about her students' well-being as much as teaching her class. She was also so smart and knowledgeable. She was a great professor and a great person. She will be missed.

— Estefania McCarroll, Georgetown Law (L'20)

I was deeply saddened by learning of Prof. Fleming's passing. Having spent more time as a student than I'd like to admit, and having been a teacher myself for a few years before attending law school, I feel confident in saying that Prof. Fleming was unparalleled as an instructor--she was not only knowledgeable, bright, witty, and engaging in the classroom, but also clearly spent a lot of time thinking about how to make her instruction effective.

Her passion for teaching and skill at doing it truly stood out to me as a student at Georgetown Law. I took only one class with her--the Consumer Debt & Bankruptcy seminar--with a subject matter that was out of my comfort zone.

Prof. Fleming made material that would have been difficult and dry in other people's hands accessible and exciting, and ensured that every participant in the class was engaged, and came away with a deep understanding of the topics we had covered.

In addition, she was generous with her time in advising students on their papers, and encouraging and supportive in her feedback. I wish I had taken more classes with her. The law school will not be the same without her.

— Rob Van Someren Greve, Associate, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Anne and I met during undergrad through the Progressive Party, one of the parties in the Yale Political Union.

While she flashed her intellect and wit during our debates, I will always remember the compassion and empathy she brought to our regular soup kitchen volunteering and other community service projects. She had a clear love for humanity and fundamental kindness in her heart. Those virtues, combined with her remarkable intellect, made her a force for decency and good.

— Aaron Goldhamer, Georgetown Law ('09)

I was a student in her bankruptcy class. It was such a complicated subject but she explained things in a way we would understand and hold on to. It was also an immensely competitive class but she saw everyone and made sure that everyone had the opportunity to speak and grow, no matter where we stood academically.

I'm thankful for her kindness and passion. I would like to extend my condolences to her family. She will be missed but not forgotten.

— Tara Francis, Georgetown Law Alumna

Professor Fleming was one of the best professors I had at Georgetown. She was incredibly kind, smart, and dedicated to her students. She will be missed.

— Austin Donohue, Georgetown Law Student, 3L

I took contracts with Professor Fleming in Spring 2018, in the evening section. She was one of the warmest and most patient professors I've ever had. I loved going to her class, where her wit and her way of engaging with students kept us interested even after the long days at work that evening students put in before coming to class.

She taught us so much practical law that I still think of her all the time when I negotiate contracts for my freelance work. I also remember how her style of teaching clearly showed her passion for the vulnerable, in the way she brought out the human stories of contracts case law and how it affects lives.

Lastly, it is equally impossible to forget how personable she was. She had an unusually disarming way about her, so that I always felt welcomed when I would approach her with questions. Her vibrant personality and deep kindness were evident from the first time you met her. Professor Fleming, we will miss you so much. But no one can say you didn't leave an amazing mark on the world, and on each of us, with the time you had to share your talents.

— Tamber Hilton, Georgetown Law Student

Anne was my law clerk. And a superb law clerk; no surprise there. Her co clerks were two wonderful young men. Anne was the quiet voice of reason. The mature voice in chambers. At the same time, very private. Very understated. But a mind that would not quit and a generosity of spirit that was unparalleled. We had not kept up over the years but she reached out to me five years ago and we caught up. I had not appreciated all of her professional accomplishments-Anne would not tout them- but I am thankful that we re-connected and that she referred stellar Georgetown Law students to me. What a stunning loss for all who knew her.

— Midge Rendell, Judge, US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

We are the parents of Paul Serritella, Anne's husband. From our first meetings with Anne, we were impressed by and quickly came to love her intelligence, gentle demeanor and verbal restraint among our often loquacious family. But even after publication of "City of Debtors," we were still not fully aware of the breadth of her scholarship and publications and their significance for the emergent field of debtors' rights. Anne was not one to blow her own horn. Reading the postings here, we have become newly aware and in awe of the great esteem in which she was held by her Georgetown colleagues and the devotion, almost adulation, of her students. We know from Paul that Anne reciprocated these feelings in her own high regard for Georgetown Law.

— Peter Serritella & Frances Dellacava, Parents of Paul Serritella

I had the pleasure of being a research assistant for Professor Fleming in the summer of 2016 when she was working on City of Debtors. She was always thoughtful, kind, and patient. As everyone else has already expressed far more eloquently than I could, she was incredibly intelligent and inspired many, including myself.

— Christine Zhao, Georgetown Law Alumna

Professor Fleming gave her students the individual attention needed to excel. She remembered our comments and questions and followed up with us throughout the semester, keeping us engaged and instilling us with confidence in our understanding of the materials. She was an incredible professor and a kind person. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones.

— Sheaniva Murray, Georgetown Law Alumna

I took Professor Fleming's Contracts in 1L, and took her Secured Transactions in 3L. It seemed so unfair to me that such a wonderful person was taken away from us so early. I was in shock and disbelief seeing the news; I regretted that I did not attend her office hours more often; and I wished that I had stayed longer after her final class and had told her how much I liked her and how much I appreciated everything she had done for us. Now after reading so many messages left here by her former students, I take comfort in knowing that we all share the same feeling and gratitude towards her, and I am so glad that her effort did not go unnoticed. She had such a rewarding journey in this world!

— Lesha O., Georgetown Law Alumna

I distinctly remember walking into my first contracts class on the first day of law school with Professor Fleming just a year ago. Not sure what to expect from law school, Professor Fleming quickly put all of us at ease with her warmth and knowledge. I will always remember her kindness, genuine interest in our success, and love for the law. She certainly was an inspiration to so many first year law students.

— Aysha Chowdhry, Georgetown Law 2L

Contracts and Chocolate Candy. These are the two things that stand out to me when I think of Professor Fleming. Her style of teaching made absorbing the material extremely easy – beginning and ending each class with a review of important points. Professor Fleming always displayed a kind, friendly demeanor, and it was clear that she took a personal interest in the success of her students.

As a corporate attorney, the technical lessons I learned in her class were invaluable to my practice. However, the more important lesson I took from her was how to remain calm under pressure – always be prepared and know the subject matter. While our paths only crossed for a brief moment in time, I will always be grateful for these life lessons.

— Michael Daniels, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming was an incredibly kind and engaging teacher. Learning from her was a true privilege. From the first day of her first Contracts class I could tell (and I wrote in my notes) how fortunate my class was to have her as our professor in such a core subject. Not only was she obviously brilliant, but she put clear effort into the practice of teaching us; ensuring that the core concepts she was emphasizing on any given day were always in the forefront of our minds even as the class might discuss more granular details of particular cases.

She was just as supportive outside of her courses. I knew I would always be one of her students, both during the rest of my law school career and afterward. Every time we met she was ready with a kind word and a note of encouragement. And when my class did complete our JD courses, it was an honor to receive our diplomas from Professor Fleming.

As an evening student, her brilliance, effort, and consistent thoughtfulness were invaluable. On a massive campus, I believe she made every one of her students feel seen. I will miss her and will forever treasure her memory.

— Damon Porter, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming touched many lives during her top-brief tenure at GULC, and I can speak with authority regarding this because she touched mine even though I would not say we had a special relationship. Indeed, I am one of the students whose names was likely difficult for her to remember. Nevertheless, she was a woman of such talents and kindness that they penetrated the distance between us, allowing her to instill in me lessons going far beyond the four corners of any contract which continue to serve me today.

I was one of Prof. Fleming’s inaugural students at Georgetown. I was a first-year at the time and, suffice it to say, Prof. Fleming and I were each settling into our roles at Georgetown, though she did so with more grace. Perhaps this is why Prof. Fleming was so capable in her role. As a young professor who brought levity and approachability to Restatements and Codes otherwise so dry one would expect the textbook pages to crinkle, Prof. Fleming would have been appreciated by any student lucky enough to claim a seat in her classroom. And she was. I hated contracts, but I loved her class. Prof. Fleming was particularly gifted at encouraging critical thinking during classroom discussion without putting students on the spot or engaging in the stereotypical less-pleasant aspects of law school. One could describe it as cultivating an atmosphere of kindness, or of safety— one which allowed us to ask questions without fear that we would be judged because, obviously if we were asking that question we did not pay enough attention when reading or, worse, didn’t belong there at all.

That might sound a little dramatic, but I don’t think it is. I think that’s how many law students and young attorneys feel. I often still feel that way. I know others who do, too, and we are always surprised when we finally speak up and realize that this other person who seems to have it all together feels similarly. But we didn’t feel that way in Prof. Fleming’s class. Prof. Fleming’s transparency about her own youth and challenges she was facing in a new environment normalized how we were feeling and tacitly gave us permission to forgive ourselves for feeling that way, while her classroom management approach allowed us to build stronger connections to each other that have kept us resilient as we navigate the first few very stressful years of our careers. Indeed, I now seek to emulate Prof. Fleming’s style in how I approach more junior associates. More of us in the industry should.

Although it was too fleeting, I am grateful for the time I had Prof. Fleming in my life and look forward to doing my part in carrying her legacy forward.

— Misty Howell, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

To say that Professor Fleming was one of a kind, does little justice to how amazing she was. She was one of the most dedicated professors I have had over my career, both in and out of the classroom. She understood what kept her students fueled and made sure that candy was always available.

But, little things like this persisted beyond the classroom. While most of her students were out enjoying the evening after class, Professor Fleming was diligently researching and emailing these same students to answer the random, nuanced question that remained after class.

It was a true opportunity to know and learn from someone like Professor Fleming. I am deeply saddened by the news of her passing. Without a doubt, she will be missed.

— Roberto Terzoli, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

I was lucky enough to have Prof. Fleming during my first year of law school. She taught Contracts to my evening student section, and I didn’t have a better big lecture professor than Prof. Fleming. She was thoughtful as a teacher, and she never tried to embarrass anyone or play the part of a stern law professor. She took the time to explain things that were not always obvious to first years, and I remember leaving her class feeling like she had been fair in what she asked of us and how she engaged us as her students. As final exams approached, I went to her office hours with a question and ended up staying for the better part of an hour because she wanted to make sure I understood the material the way she understood it.

While I’ll always remember her as one of the better educators I had in law school, what really sticks with me is how generous, kind, and patient she was as a person in all of those small interactions with us, her students. Those moments pass quickly but can still be so revealing. I’m so sorry for your loss, Prof. Fleming will be dearly missed by us all, even if we only got to know her for a couple hours every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

— Nick Wertsch, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming was a pro from her very first class! Her command of the subject was impressive; she distilled the information in such a way that we were not only able to grasp it but analyze it with confidence.

Contracts is considered one of the less interesting doctrinal classes, but Professor Fleming had a way of making the material engaging. She was always prepared for class, and ensured we understood and could apply the material. She’d gently correct us when we got something wrong, and spent hours after class diligently researching our questions. She had a wry sense of humor, and a bright smile. She wove humor into her lectures, and we were always laughing and smiling right back at her!
You could count on Professor Fleming to provide an encouraging word or a piece of chocolate. I always looked forward to seeing Professor Fleming on campus. She’d stop, ask how I was doing, and truly care about my response.

I learned so much more than Contracts from Professor Fleming. I learned the importance of making people feel seen and heard. I will carry her legacy with me. She is missed, and will always be remembered.

— Jessica Bigby, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming taught me contracts in my first year of law school. It was her first time teaching the course, but you would never know it--she was one of the two or three best professors I had in four years of night law school. More importantly, she was a truly nice and generous human being.

Every time I ran into her in the succeeding years, she would always offer unprompted to serve as a reference for job applications and to otherwise help however she could. She was a true role model in both being very good at her job and treating others with kindness and consideration. I will honor her memory by aspiring each day to do the same.

— Michael Lepage, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming used her passion for the law to make it come to life for her students. I had the privilege of having Professor Fleming when she was new to the faculty at Georgetown and, even though still green as a professor, her control of and care for the subject matter (and the occasional bag of candy) allowed her to give engaging lectures on par and exceeding many of her more seasoned colleagues.

I and every one she taught will forever look up to her as a model lawyer, teacher, friend, and human being.

— Matt Mosteller, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Whether it was a John Oliver segment, an interesting guest lecturer, or a particularly incisive way to remember the mailbox rule, Professor Fleming made law school lively and interesting. Whether it was a kind word at just the right time, a mini chocolate bar, or a smile on graduation day, Professor Fleming also made law school--and everything that follows--feel like a community.

She wasn't just a talented educator and a brilliant legal mind, she was a deeply good person. I remember showing up to office hours, terribly rumpled and exhausted after welcoming a baby, and she told me what I was doing was impressive, enthusiastically discussed my paper with me, and sent me on my way feeling like a whole, real person.

Thank you for sharing her with us, and I'm so sorry for your loss. She is deeply missed.

— Mina Dixon Davis, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Prof. Fleming was phenomenally helpful. When she was teaching contracts, I was stuck in India due to immigration problems. So, I had to take half of the semester virtually. She went out of her way to make sure that I understood the audio lectures when I would listen to them in India, some twelve hours after the lecture took place.

She conducted video office hours to answer my questions. She waived off my in-class participation requirements. Because of her dedication and genuine empathy I was still able to get an A in the class. When I came back from India, she was so happy to see me that she hugged me. I was in tears and she made me feel that I’m back to my “home.” I’m so heartbroken that her untimely departure has robbed this world of a truly compassionate and loving human being.

I have no words to express my sorrow. May she rest in peace and her family gets the strength to bear this loss. I will never forget her generosity and will follow her path to be helpful and compassionate to others.

— Saurabh Gupta, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Inside and outside of the classroom, Professor Fleming epitomized the virtue of decency. We need more of that today. She will be missed.

— Kevin Spinella, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

Professor Fleming was a breath of fresh air our first year of law school. It could not have been easy teaching a group of burnt out evening students in the second semester of their first year of law school.

We would come to class after a long day of work, and she had the distinct privilege of trying to teach us one of the driest of 1L courses – Contracts. But she did it with grace. We would always leave her class with smiles on our faces, whether it was from the mini-candy bars she would bring to class (bribes much?), the fact that she would outline the course for us on a powerpoint presentation (every law student’s dream!), or just the pure joy she exuded and stories she would tell, her class was truly enjoyable.
For the years that followed, I always loved running into Professor Fleming in the hallways or elevator at Georgetown. She always took time to stop and ask how life was going. I thought maybe we just had a special place in her heart as her first class, but after reading the outpouring of notes about her in memory, I see that she made everyone she encountered feel that special. That is the kind of person, and lawyer, I want to be.

Brilliant, kind, and unpretentious – the world needs more of that. She is gone too soon and will be deeply missed. My sincere condolences to her husband and family. You are in our thoughts!

— Crystal Weeks, Georgetown Law Class of 2018

I am so blessed to have been in Professor Fleming’s first evening Contracts class at Georgetown during my first year of law school. Despite her stellar qualifications and brilliance, she was incredibly humble and kind. She genuinely cared about not just helping us master the Contracts material, but succeeding as law students.

She gave us numerous studying tips and even devoted an entire class to walking us through a practice exam. I can say with certainty that her help completely changed my law school trajectory.

After Contracts I stayed in touch with Professor Fleming, and she was always exceedingly generous with her time. Whether it was help with other classes, thoughts on career decisions, or recommendation letters, she never hesitated to clear her schedule to talk. And I know she did the same for many others.

Like so many, I was deeply saddened by the news of Professor Fleming’s passing. While it is impossible to right the world’s loss of such an amazing person, I am partly comforted by the fact that she touched so many, like me, and I know that we all feel a responsibility to carry her compassion and generosity forward to others.

With kind regards and deep sympathy,

— Edward Kocis, Georgetown Law Class of 2018