Richard Callender Maxwell, UCLA School of Law Dean Emeritus and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, passed away in Austin, Texas, on October 7, 2016, his 97th birthday.
He was the school's second dean, and is credited for building the school from its modest early years into one of the top law schools in the country. Under Maxwell's guidance the school embraced clinical and experiential learning, became a pioneer in faculty diversity, created specialized programs in areas such as immigration and communications law, launched its deep commitment to public interest law and more than tripled the size of its faculty.
"Richard Maxwell was an extraordinary leader, one who truly laid the foundation for what UCLA Law stands for today," said Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean and Dallas G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law. "He was also a thoughtful and inspiring teacher who combined high standards with a true generosity of spirit. We offer our sincere condolences to his family."
Maxwell joined the UCLA Law faculty in 1953, four years after the school opened. He served as dean of the school from 1958 to 1969, and remained on the faculty until 1981.
An expert in oil and gas law, Maxwell was an editor of the Oil and Gas Reporter for more than 30 years. He was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 1976 and the UCLA Medal in 1982.
After leaving UCLA, he became the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law at Duke University. Over the years he took on numerous roles in service to the profession, including as president of the Association of American Law Schools. At various times he taught at the University of North Dakota, the University of Texas, Hastings College of the Law, UC Berkeley, Columbia University and the University of Singapore.
He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and earned his LL.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1947, where he was president of the Minnesota Law Review. Before joining UCLA he worked in the private sector as counsel for the Amerada Petroleum Corporation.
"Dick brought UCLA Law from being from a small institution to one of the premiere law schools in the country," said Acting Chancellor Emeritus Norman Abrams, who was interim dean of the law school from 2003 to 2004 and joined the school the same year that Maxwell became dean. "But more than what he did for the school, he was an extraordinary person. Grounded, down to earth and warm, and at the same time he had high standards and a strong moral core."
A service is scheduled for Oct. 29 in Minneapolis. UCLA Law will hold a tribute at a date to be determined. The Maxwell family requests that gifts in Dean Maxwell's honor be directed to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.