Larry Herman: Mr. Moot Court Alive and Well in Columbus
|Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark congratulates Ohio State National Moot Court Champions Grady L. Pettigrew, Jr. '71 (left) and Gary D. Greenwald '71|
Bitten by the moot court bug and intrigued by the lecturing he did as a 3L at Cincinnati, Larry went about the business of preparing for a teaching career. First stop was a teaching fellowship at Northwestern University Law School. Next came three years in the Army's Judge Advocate General Corps following the Korean War. As a JAG Officer he prosecuted and defended soldiers in military felony cases. Recognizing a teachable moment, Larry developed and taught a course of instruction for non-attorney officers who handled lower-level courts martial proceedings. Following military service was a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Julius J. Hoffman in Chicago. Larry spent as much time as he could in court observing trial attorneys. The lessons he learned would become invaluable to the moot court advocates he would soon coach.
Western Reserve, later known as Case Western Reserve University Law School, hired Larry to teach criminal law, federal courts, and legal writing, and to coach moot court. His team made it to the National Moot Court Competition and was ousted in the semi-finals by Ohio State. The final round pitted Ohio State against Oklahoma, then a perennial moot court power.
Fate, in the form of Ohio State Law Dean Frank R. Strong, walked into the final round just after the argument began. Recognizing him from an earlier meeting, Larry motioned Dean Strong to a vacant chair next to him and they listened to the argument together. When the argument was over and the judges left to deliberate, Dean Strong said, "That Oklahoma Team was very good. I think we may be in trouble."
Larry countered, "They were very good forensically, but Ohio State was much better substantively. If the judges understand the law, Ohio State should win." The judges did understand the law, and Ohio State did win. Larry won the respect of Dean Strong, and ten months later he was coaching Ohio State's moot court team and teaching criminal law.
|Professor Herman at home in the classroom|
Larry's moot court program would win two national championships and a host of "best brief" and "best oralist" honors over the years. The University would recognize him with the prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award, and students would vote him Outstanding Professor in 1977, 1979 and again in 1992. In 1992, the annual moot court contest was renamed the "Herman Moot Court Competition" in honor of his many contributions.
Larry officially retired in February of 1992 and completed the semester as a "volunteer." The following year he taught at the University of Miami arriving just in advance of hurricane Andrew. He continued to teach intermittently until 1997.
A world traveler throughout his life, Larry fell in love with the bougainvillea, sea views, and lush mountains of Hawaii. In the 90's he began alternating his time between Hawaii and Ohio. Thanks to the electronic age, Larry was able to research and write amicus briefs without sacrificing his fresh papaya and mid-morning tea break on the lanai.
After Larry became a widower in 2002, he returned to Columbus. Eventually, he resumed traveling. He continues to become involved selectively in cases that interest him.
Earlier this year, Associate Dean Alan Michaels sent an e-mail request to all faculty, including emeritus, asking for volunteers to teach in the College's summer Oxford Program. A founding director and prior lecturer in OSU's Oxford program, Larry volunteered and taught pre-law students this summer. Oxford was an opportunity to renew professional relationships and return to the classroom. Accepting another invitation, Larry is teaching criminal law this semester to cover the class of a faculty member on sabbatical.
|Larry reminisces at Cleveland alumni event with Bobbie Schwartz, wife of Niki Schwartz '64|
Larry is a full participant in the College of Law community these days. He enjoys the rich intellectual life that visiting scholars and special programs provide. Larry is also attending alumni gatherings, remembering, with characteristic attention to detail, the names of former moot court advocates, the cases they argued, and with whom they were paired. He recounts easily nicknames, maiden names, where alumni started their careers, and where they are today.
Larry Herman is living life fully and well among friends. He is enjoying himself, and new generations of students are experiencing his enthusiasm and love of the law. Says Larry, "Teaching is more fun now. I know more. I've finally got my act together and I'm taking it on the road."