Honoring Professor and Dean Emeritus Robert Pitofsky

May 31, 2012 — A Renaissance man. An influential antitrust scholar. The perfect public servant. Professor and Dean Emeritus Robert Pitofsky, counsel at Arnold and Porter and former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, is all these and more, said a wide array of distinguished speakers at a May 30 symposium in his honor.

“Bob is a mentor, a guide and a friend,” said Dean William M. Treanor, opening the symposium, which was held in the Law Center’s Hart Auditorium and sponsored by Georgetown Law and Arnold and Porter.

During Pitofsky’s six-year term as executive vice president and dean of the Law Center from 1983-1986, he enlarged and strengthened the faculty and built the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library.

“What unites all he does is the faithful pursuit of justice,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia in his welcoming remarks. “He is a role model for me and for countless others.”

The symposium was designed to highlight the many facets of Pitofsky’s career. Christine Varney (L’86) former assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, discussed Pitofsky’s framing of an alternative approach to the Chicago School of Economics — an approach so thorough and respected “that it might be called the Georgetown School,” she said.

In a panel on “Bob as Scholar,” Columbia Law Professor Harvey Goldschmid, former commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, called Pitofsky “a living legend in antitrust.”

“Everything about being dean I learned from Bob,” said Professor and Dean Emerita Judy Areen, who moderated a panel on Pitofsky’s legacy at Georgetown.

“Bob is what the revolving door is supposed to be all about,” said Professor Steven Salop, coauthor with Pitofsky of How the Chicago School Overshot the Mark. “He always sees both sides.”

At a luncheon in Pitofsky’s honor, Adjunct Professor Kenneth Feinberg, former special master of the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, called his friend “a model public servant.” Also at the luncheon, Dean Treanor announced a new scholarship fund that has been created in Pitofsky’s name.

The symposium concluded with two more panels, one moderated by William J. Baer of Arnold and Porter — who, along with Professor Howard Shelanski, planned the event — and remarks by another of Pitofsky’s good friends, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

“[Bob] has the intellectual virtues; he’s intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate,” Breyer said. “He has the public virtues; he’s practical, politic, public-spirited. His heart is in the right place. And he has the human virtues. He’s decent, he’s humane, he has a sense of humor … he likes the movies … and, he has good friends, of which Ken [Feinberg] and I are two.”

For more information on the Robert Pitofsky Scholarship Fund, contact Director of Donor Relations Christine M. Hammer at 202-662-9506 or chs42@law.georgetown.edu.

-- Anne Cassidy