The entire University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law community mourns the loss of Professor Emeritus Roger Wolf who passed away on December 30, 2017. Professor Wolf will be remembered for, among many things, his commitment to alternative dispute resolution, the founding of what would become Maryland Carey Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution (C-DRUM), and the hundreds of lives he positively affected during his time at Maryland Carey Law. Professor Wolf’s contributions to the legal world are immeasurable and his legacy will continue to touch the lives of Marylanders for decades to come.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Professor Wolf graduated from Harvard College and the George Washington University School of Law and taught at Catholic University’s law school until 1978 when he left academia to farm and start a vineyard. At some point in the early 1980’s Professor Wolf found a classified advertisement describing an evening clinical job. Answering that ad would turn into a 28 year career at Maryland Carey Law spanning from 1982 until his retirement in 2009.
During his tenure at Maryland Carey Law, Professor Wolf was a tireless advocate for clinical education. In 1983 he became Director of Maryland Carey Law’s Attorney General Clinic while teaching courses including an alternative dispute resolution survey course, civil procedure, lawyering process, and a criminal defense clinic. In 1992 he started the Mediation Clinic which would evolve into C-DRUM.
A comprehensive list of Professor Wolf’s many accomplishments would be impossibly long, but highlights include:
Perhaps what distinguishes Professor Wolf the most from his colleagues was how he spent his leisure time. As his obituary states, “Roger also spent great energy farming. His main crops were 10 acres of wine grapes, a good sized flock of sheep (30-40 ewes & their assorted lambs), Christmas trees, and some Red Angus beef cattle. He was a founding board member of the Maryland Grape Growers Association, serving as their first vice president and second president. He was appointed by the Governor to the Maryland State Winery & Grape Grower Advisory Board. He exhibited his sheep at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, winning ribbons including grand champion, and he sold fleeces to weavers and handspinners. He spent hours in his garden, getting his potatoes planted near St Patrick’s Day, and was particularly pleased with his garlic crop. His farm in Pleasant Valley was a source of great comfort, and he loved nothing more than working and spending time there.”
Toby Treem Guerin, Managing Director of C-DRUM, lauded Professor Wolf’s work in an email sent to colleagues shortly after his death. She writes, “Through all of his accomplishments, of which there are many more than can be listed, those who knew Roger most appreciated his accessibility. He mentored many mediators, engaged in numerous phone calls discussing mediation issues, responded to countless emails sharing his perspective, and completed every survey put before him. He often contacted peers to debrief a mediation or solicited feedback from his students. When people did not come to him, he often went to them sending letters and emails to organizations and local and state officials offering his services or those of other ADR practitioners to resolve disputes.”
Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of C-DRUM, summarized his contribution to the legal world, stating, “Roger was a visionary pioneer who understood that ADR is both a core competency for lawyers and a growing specialized profession. He built something very special at our law school. He leaves an extraordinary legacy focused on quality clinical and experiential teaching, high ethical practice standards, and commitment to using ADR to build a more just society.”
Director of the Law and Health Care Program and Jacob A. France Professor of Health Care Law, Diane Hoffmann writes, “Roger was a mentor and a colleague to me. We worked together on numerous projects bringing concepts in alternative dispute resolution to the health care community through conferences, grant based projects, publications and teaching. For four years we co-taught a course on conflict resolution in health care to students from the schools of law, medicine and nursing. Roger was a true champion of ADR believing in its ability to heal relationships and resolve both short term and long standing disputes more efficiently and often more effectively than litigation.”
Robert Condlin, Professor of Law, remembers Professor Wolf as a superlative colleague. “Whoever makes people never made a better one than Roger Wolf. To work closely with him, as I did for a semester when we taught Civil Procedure together, was to understand the possibilities of colleagueship. He made everyone around him an order of magnitude better, while making sure everyone around him got the credit for the improvement; and that was the story of his life. Rarely, do you see great talent combine with decency, kindness, and compassion to the extent they did in Roger. He was a very special person.”