Celebrating Three GW Law Legends

Professors Thomas D. Morgan, Jack H. Friedenthal, and John Andrew Spanogle Jr. at their retirement luncheon.

GW Law celebrated the legacies of three revered professors at a retirement luncheon in May, as Jack H. Friedenthal, Thomas D. Morgan, and John Andrew Spanogle Jr. retired from the law school after a combined 77 years of service. All were named professors emeriti.

Professor Friedenthal, who served as dean of the law school from 1988 to 1998, was a longtime anchor of GW’s civil procedure, evidence, and conflict of laws faculties. The author of two of the most influential works in the civil procedure field—the seminal casebook Civil Procedure and the acclaimed Civil Procedure hornbook series—he shaped the way generations of students, scholars, and practitioners view the field. More than a third of GW Law’s current faculty members were hired during his deanship, including some of the nation’s most prominent legal scholars. 

“We all thank him—as we said in the emeritus resolution approved by this faculty—for his compassion for all those around him, his unqualified devotion to the well-being of the law school, and his commitment to helping others in matters great and small,” said Professor Roger H. Trangsrud, GW’s James F. Humphreys Professor of Complex Litigation and Civil Procedure, during remarks to his longtime colleague. 

Professor Friedenthal, he continued, viewed “deaning” as “a helping profession” and was dedicated to “helping all of the people in the building thrive and flourish…not just our students, but one another as well.” 

The spotlight next turned to Professor Morgan, the Oppenheim Professor of Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law, who joined the GW Law faculty in 1989 after serving as dean of the Emory University School of Law. “I’ve been teaching long enough to have students who are themselves getting close to retirement,” said Professor Morgan, an expert on the regulation of the legal profession and co-author of the most widely used legal ethics casebook. 

“What is great about teaching is that we don’t know on any given day what we have done to influence the future. Each of the people we teach is going to have an influence on their community that is incalculable.”

Reflecting on his “26-year ride” at GW Law, Professor Spanogle, the William Wallace Kirkpatrick Research Professor of Law, told the crowd of well-wishers, “I have had enormous pleasure teaching here for all these years.” A founding member of Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group, Professor Spanogle is the co-author of the widely used casebook Consumer Law, as well as the co-author of International Business Transactions, the most widely used casebook in its field. “I’m looking forward to closing one chapter of a book and going on to a new chapter,” he said. “I’ll let you know what happens next.”