Colleagues Remember Professor Emerita Aleta Estreicher
New York Law School mourns the loss of Professor Emerita Aleta Estreicher (1948–2020). Members of the faculty and administration recently shared their reflections on Professor Estreicher, a beloved longtime colleague and a recognized authority on securities regulation and corporate law. At NYLS, she taught corporations and property law, was honored for her excellence in teaching, and founded NYLS's Securities Arbitration Clinic, which continues to assist small investors.
"Aleta was a pillar of our community, an outstanding teacher and scholar, and a wise and insightful counselor. She was beloved by many and was a trusted mentor and friend. She will be missed very much."
–Anthony Crowell, Dean and President
"I learned a great from her, not only about teaching property, something she did with great skill, but also about being a teacher in the widest sense and about how to be a colleague. And that poodles have hair, not fur, and therefore are the perfect canine companion for those who have allergies. It is not possible to think of Aleta without rejoicing in having known her."
–William P. LaPiana, Academic Dean; Rita and Joseph Solomon Professor of Wills, Trusts, and Estates
“I too mourn the passing of Aleta. She was a friend and mentor to me and took me under her wing when I joined NYLS in the summer of 1996. As we all age, it becomes increasingly difficult to find mentors; yet, Aleta was one to me, and I am grateful.
“A person's life is a tapestry of a thousand stories. Aleta, knowing my of love of rock and roll music, told me how, as a young girl, she attended the Beatles’ famous Shea Stadium concert in 1965. I was in awe. I still grin from ear to ear when I think of Aleta, as a young woman, screaming her lungs out upon seeing John, Paul, George, and Ringo.”
–Jeffrey J. Haas, Professor of Law
"Aleta was a remarkably brave scholar and colleague—the field of corporate law remained so stunningly sexist and narrow in the mid '90’s when I joined NYLS: To have her as a friend and mentor made many intellectual and professional feats possible, which otherwise would have been impossible, for me and others. Aleta’s vision of a corporate law which might attend to issues of economic justice finally shows glimmers of possibility in this moment; it's a project she contributed to, without doubt.
"In her participation in all faculty affairs, Aleta contributed greatly to NYLS’s culture of intellectual honesty and candor, and civil debate. In addition, a more dedicated, democratic, and caring classroom teacher there has never been."
–Faith Stevelman, Professor of Law
"Aleta was honest, thoughtful, steady, determined, and deliberate. She mentored me. What an example she was of effective and caring law teaching. I learned so much just listening to her talk about questions students asked and how she responded. Aleta was also a stalwart guide and touchstone for our community in governance. She took this work as seriously as she did her scholarship and teaching. ... Aleta was and still will be a shining light for me."
–Ann F. Thomas, Otto L. Walter Distinguished Professor of Tax Law
"Her contributions were many, and her absence is a major loss."
–Edward A. Purcell Jr., Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law
"I only overlapped with Aleta at NYLS for a short time, but she made a deep impression. When I first started teaching, she welcomed me warmly; she was remarkably kind and generous in her interest in me and in her willingness to share her insights and experience. She was so clearly devoted to her students and to teaching, and her students loved her. ... I always appreciated her honesty and refreshing sense of humor. She helped me feel comfortable and part of a community."
–Susan Abraham, Professor of Law
"Aleta was warm, funny, supportive, and most importantly, as serious a Mets fan as I am. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with her, and I join in others' expressions of loss."
–Richard D. Marsico, Professor of Law
"Aleta was a kind and generous colleague who delighted in a wide range of intellectual pursuits and had a passion for teaching our students. I will especially remember hearing her warm and infectious laugh as we shared the ironies of the day or a particularly fascinating bit of trivia at the lunch table."
–Carol A. Buckler, Professor of Law, Emerita
"Aleta was indeed a beloved teacher ... and I was constantly hearing from students we shared what an outstanding teacher she was. I deeply regret never having had the opportunity to sit in on at least one of her classes.
"Even as I write this, I am listening to the classical music I almost constantly stream on my computer, thanks to Aleta’s long-ago suggestion of a wonderful non-commercial, 24/7 classical streaming radio station in North Carolina: WCPE. So she is the original source of the beautiful background music for all my undertakings."
–Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, Emerita
"Seeing an open chair near Aleta meant it was going to be a great lunch. She always had stories to share and was a keen listener. Aleta identified herself as a teacher first; she used to say that she always knew she would teach and that it just happened to be about law. Students loved her. She was patient and kind, and her students knew she truly cared about them. I advised countless students who feared taking Corporations to take it with her, and to a student, they all reported that she made the class accessible and enjoyable.
"I so respected and admired Aleta. I loved keeping in touch with her after she retired, as she shared her new love of pottery (she became a wonderful ceramicist), her love for her family, and her great takes on politics. I will miss her greatly."
–Victoria Eastus, Visiting Professor of Law
"We shared a love for music—opera, especially—and we frequently exchanged views on the latest developments right up to last week... Aleta's presence among us was an important part of the flavor of New York Law School, and I am sure that thousands of her students will share our sense of deep loss. We were so lucky to have her as a colleague and friend."
–Arthur S. Leonard, Robert F. Wagner Professor of Labor and Employment Law
"I was a student in Aleta's Corporations class in 1986 or so. I had a 2-year-old and she had a 4-year-old, and we would occasionally share observations and exasperations. She offered a pre-exam class at the end and brought her son in, stuffing him under the desk as she paced back and forth. Towards the end when she was addressing liability under 10(b)(5), there was a screech and 'YOWEE! MOMMY!!!' as she apparently stepped on one limb or another. She was mortified, and we looked at each other and both started to laugh—to which her son took umbrage, as I recall."
–F. Peter Phillips '87, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law
"Aleta welcomed me, challenged me kindly, and cheered me on in early years of teaching. I am ever grateful for her leadership and kindness. I imagine we all remember our 'job talk.' Aleta came right up to me at the conclusion of my presentation and told me how much she enjoyed it. Her sincerity and enthusiasm were so present. Her energy was very personal and positive. I know there must be many, many people who were touched by her generosity."
–Lenni B. Benson, Distinguished Professor of Immigration and Human Rights Law
"Aleta and I started teaching on the same day in August 1984 and retired on the same day. That twinned us in a way that was so special. We talked about the law and teaching, but much more about music and the Mets, especially during the 2015 playoffs run. We frequently went back and forth with a former student, mostly on opera (she was one of the few I know whose serious interests spanned classical and rock music, and that was a joy for me) ... She was a wonderful colleague, one with whom I shared countless lunches over the decades. I will miss her so. And her memory will always be a blessing to all who knew her."
–Michael Perlin, Professor of Law, Emeritus
"Aleta was a wonderful person and a great teacher and mentor. I enjoyed working with her and learning from her vast experience and knowledge. I know she enjoyed her retirement, especially the time she was able to spend with her grandchildren.”
–Howard Meyers, Professor of Law; Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic