Briefing Room


College Mourns Loss of Professor Krivoshey

October 27, 2016 | Faculty

A memorial service will be held for Robert Martin Krivoshey ’78, clinical professor of law at The Ohio State Moritz College of Law, on Friday, October 28 at 4 p.m. in the Saxbe Auditorium. Krivoshey passed away on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. He was 73.

“Bob was a legend within our walls and beyond,” said Alan C. Michaels, dean and Edwin M. Cooperman Chair in Law. “I can hear Bob—always modest and unassuming–scoffing at the word ‘legend,’ but it is true. Through nearly three decades of training students to prosecute and defend criminal cases (and to have been once a student of Bob’s was to be forever one of his charges) Bob’s dedication for students and passion for justice were an inspiration.  His impact and his legacy are both extraordinary. We will miss him dearly, but his lessons live on in the army of Krivoshey alumni.”

Krivoshey started teaching at Ohio State in 1988 and was the founding professor of the Criminal Defense Clinic. Shortly after he arrived, he proposed the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, which was a novel idea at the time. Krivoshey also taught Trial Advocacy, Jury Selection, and Evidence and coached the National Trial Advocacy Team for many years. Mementos and gifts from his former trial advocacy teams are prominently displayed in his office.

“Bob cared deeply about his students, and he structured everything he did around helping them develop their professional judgment and confidence,” said Steven F. Huefner, director of clinical programs and Alumni Society Designated Professor of Law. “Generations of Moritz graduates have appreciated the tremendous mentorship that Professor Krivoshey provided them. Everyone loved to hear his stories, to get his advice, or to hear his frank appraisals. Bob took great pride in his alumni, and the parade of current and former students who came to visit with him in his office was evidence of just how beloved he was.”

As a scholar, Krivoshey’s work stayed focused on trial advocacy. He edited four books on trial advocacy – Instructions, Verdicts, and Judicial Behavior; Juries: Formation and Behavior; Opening Statement, Closing Statement, and Persuasion in Trial Advocacy; and Presentation of Evidence to Juries. He also served as editor of the book Readings in Trial Advocacy and the Social Sciences (1994), a four-volume anthology of scholarly articles.

“Bob taught his students to be zealous but truthful; to recognize the humanity of criminal defendants, witnesses, and victims; to wield the rules of evidence like a sword; and to marvel at the infinite variation of human behavior,” said Deborah Merritt, the John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law who also co-taught both clinics with Krivoshey. “Generations of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other graduates embody Bob’s wisdom. I learned as much from Bob as they did, and I am deeply grateful for the time I spent teaching with him.”

Born in New York, Krivoshey earned his B.A. from Yeshiva University in 1964 and earned a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago before attending law school at The Ohio State University.

A service will be held Thursday, August 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Epstein Memorial Chapel at 3232 E. Main St., Columbus, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Robert M. Krivoshey Clinic Scholarship Fund at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Memories and Remembrances

Lynda Seelie, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

I will miss spending the summers alone in the clinic with you Bob! Who will be there to laugh with me when I say “gee, it’s just you and me again today!!” I will miss your laugh and your friendship. RIP sir, and keep the heavens laughing with your stories.

Octavia Donnelly ’09

Very sad to hear of the loss of Professor Bob Krivoshey. He was a Moritz Law legend and perhaps the most influential professor I ever had. He shaped my entire legal career. I first had him in Evidence and knew with his sharp wit and teaching style that I would learn the most from him. It is in the prosecution clinic in the fall of 2008 and the jury selection class in the summer of 2008 that I knew I belonged in the courtroom. He really worked with all of his students to build their confidence and their trial skills. I had my first argument in a judge’s chambers during the prosecution clinic and he sat there with me; when we came back to the class he told them “I learned something new today. Don’t ever get in a pissing match with Octavia because you will lose every time!” 😂😂 what a great guy and my legal hero! RIP you will certainly be missed.

Professor Steven Huefner, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

It has truly been a privilege to have an office right next to Bob’s for many years now, to chat with him not only about lawyering and the joys of teaching, but about life in general. Students loved to sit in his office and chat with him about their cases (and other things!). I will also always remember his strong and distinctive laugh, which I could often hear even when his door was closed. We are so very sorry to lose him.

Brian Johnson ’00

I really learned a lot from many of the Professors at OSU, but certain memories really stick with you. One such memory was one day during one of our practicum class visits to the Franklin County jail Professor Krivoshey asked us to look around at the men who were incarcerated in the big jail cell, all of them were black men. He said that white men were convicted of the same amount of crimes at the same rate, but they do not make it to the jails. As we were leaving the jail that day he said to me personally, “if anyone ever tells you this system is fair, it is not. Do not ever believe that it is.” As an African American male that stuck with me since that time. SIP Professor Krivoshey and thanks for your wisdom.

Nancy Reynolds ’92

In Professor Krivoshey’s spring 1992 civil litigation practice, I defended a mock product’s liability trial for my final grade while I was 8 months pregnant with twins.  Professor Krivoshey insisted that I sit throughout the trial because he was like that, a gentleman.  I refused because I was like that, stubborn.  After the emergency delivery of my daughters 2 days later, I reassured Professor Krivoshey that his class did not trigger their delivery.  He was very concerned because he was like that.  Thank you to Professor Krivoshey for the many bits of wisdom and practice tools I have used in litigation through the years and thank you for being the person you were.

Alex Chen ’07

Professor Krivoshey taught me evidence.  It was my favorite class because he told real life stories to illustrate the rules. I still use my class notes 9 years later when I have questions about evidence. He will greatly be missed.

Henry Appel ’97

He was a great professor – colorful and intelligent.   He combined a relaxed informality with a terrific ability to train young lawyers in the dark arts of trial practice.  He was able to enliven his lectures by describing incidents where he had made the very error he was warning us against. Anyone who knew him has good Bob stories.  If he ever deemed you to be in contempt of court, you had to purge your contempt by buying his coffee.   He was notorious for smoking in the stairwell of the Franklin County Municipal Court.  One day, his colleagues got a Sheriff deputy to pretend to arrest him for smoking, only to lead him out into a crowd of defense attorneys who were all howling with laughter. Good lawyer. Even better guy. The world is a sadder place without him.

Lee Freedman ’97

Professor Krivoshey coached my trial team. I can’t imagine a better way to prepare for trying cases than receiving his instructions. One thing stands out. When practicing cross-examinations I’d occasionally get sidetracked. So, he started standing behind me during cross yelling, “You’re f*#$%^g it up, Freedman,” until I could stay on track. Somehow it did it in an endearing way, and that experience helped to keep me calm in court when I started trying real cases. Oddly enough I’ve recalled the experience fondly to colleagues over the years. OSU was lucky to have him for so long.

Joe Stadnicar ’90

One of an amazing few who changed my life significantly. A great professor, a great lawyer, and a great friend. I know you had a similar affect on so many. Rest in peace Bob.

Kim Zianno Hartman ’96

Professor Krivoshey was one of my favorites. He was so kind and engaged in our learning. He was demanding in the most gentle way. He was a man I admired, and I looked forward to his instruction every day. Twenty years later, and I can still hear him and picture him walking us into the courthouse. He leaves a legacy at the college of law. I will never forget him. Wishing his family peace and comfort in this difficult time, and praying for some joy in the knowledge that more people than they will ever know adored their loved one. RIP Professor Krivoshey.

Frank Fragomene ’05

I’ll never forget working with you in the prosecution practicum.  The lessons you taught me about litigation have been invaluable, even literally today, as I taught my own class of folks how to work on administrative litigation. You’ll always be in our memories and our work.  You’ll always live on in that.

Carrie Gladden ’89

Professor Krivoshey was one of my favorites.  I was in one of his first, if not the first Prosecution Clinic.  I was also blessed to see him throughout the 12 years I served on the Franklin County Municipal Court bench.  He would often arrive early to the courthouse and if Bill Pollitt wasn’t around, he would come talk to me.  My first criminal jury trial as a judge had Bob and one of his clinic students representing the defendant.  What a blessing he was to me and so many.  What a loss to future students who will not be able to learn from him.

Josepher Li ’16

Bob was a great teacher but an even better person. To the Law School, he was a critical member of the trial advocacy and criminal law practicum. To his students, his teachings transcended the classroom. It was not unusual in my time with the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, to have to wait in line to get into his office. His door was always open. I regret not stopping by more often.

Matt Seyfang ’89

I’m really sorry to hear this. He was a superstar of a teacher — the kind you are forever grateful for having learned from and gotten to know. To say that he taught trial advocacy understates things. While I learned a great deal about the mechanics of trying a case, I learned far more from being associated with a thoroughly decent human being who managed to convey both a sense of justice and a seriousness of purpose in what lawyers do with great good humor. He was one of a kind — in the best possible way. My deepest condolences to his family and to the many who mourn his passing.

Marc Blubaugh ’97

Bob coached me during my time on the National Trial Advocacy Team.  He devoted countless hours teaching us how to try a case effectively.  His shrewd guidance was invaluable and certainly provided me with the necessary confidence to try cases when I first began practicing.  The lessons he taught remain with me to this day.  He will be missed deeply.

Mary Lynn Graf-Caswell ’96

Bob was an excellent professor, mentor and friend.  He introduced me to prosecution, the art of trial advocacy and the community of trial lawyers.  I was hooked.  I am still loving it.  Bob provided me with sage professional and personal advice, especially when the two collided.  I hope I can be half the mentor to another that he was to me.  No one had better trial stories.  I will miss him greatly.

Professor Lee Thomason, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

When I joined the faculty, I did not know one person in Columbus. My office was doors away from Bob’s. As I worked to develop a new course, Bob was so very helpful. He was a friend and resource who helped me thru many instances of writers block. Bob and I shared so many trial stories, serious and silly. The last time we were in his office, we joked about when we would open the bottle of Ky bourbon he had on his bookshelf. Now it’ll feel a lot different around the clinical offices without my daily visit with Bob. May he rest in peace, he was a wonderful man and a great teacher.

Rachel Laing ’09

Professor Krivoshey was hugely influential during my time at Moritz. I learned so much in his classes–and they were immensely helpful, practical things–heck, how to lay a foundation to introduce difference pieces of evidence. And I loved his classes–his war stories and his mix of wit, experience, and self-deprecation. I took Jury Selection, Trial Practice, and the Prosecution Clinic with Bob, and I also remember many great talks in his office and/or when I followed him outside to continue a conversation during his smoke break. 🙂 I learned so much from you, Bob. Rest in peace.

Elizabeth Sherowski ’96

I had the privilege of being both Bob’s student and his colleague at Moritz. Having been in his classes, I’m saddened to know that our current and future students won’t get to hear his stories or feel his enthusiasm for the art of trial practice. As his colleague, though, I’m saddened that I won’t get to stop by his office or argue about trial practice problems anymore. He was my teacher, and my friend, and I will miss him.

Megan Robinson ’07

I still use one of Professor Krivoshey’s stories (about the prosecution of a child abuse case) to demonstrate how important it is to prove all of the elements of a case.  He was one of the few teachers I’ve ever had who could make specific examples of  instruction so memorable and powerful, even nearly a decade later.  I can honestly say I’m a better attorney because of him.  The Moritz community has suffered a great loss, especially for the students who will not have the honor of sitting in his class and listening to ‘in the alternative’ defenses about trips to Tierra del Fuego.  Thank you, Professor Krivoshey.

Sky Pettey ’99

I had Professor Krivoshey for Criminal Defense Practicum. He helped me develop the confidence, courage, and knowledge to represent people accused of crimes. With his help (and that of a reasonable prosecutor) we got a great result for an individual who we thought was quite overcharged. Criminal defense has been part of my practice since I became licensed, and much credit goes to that initial infusion of confidence that professor Krivoshey gave me at a pivotal time in my life. Thank you Professor Krivoshey! Condolences to his family and friends.

Dakota Rudesill, professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Every conversation I had with Bob enriched my thinking about experiential education and development of lawyers.  Every conversation was stimulating and enjoyable.  His knowledge and experience were vast.  He was able to see issues, process, and lawyering from multiple standpoints, an enormously valuable trait.  A great loss.

Maureen Young ’01

I took smoke breaks with the professor even though I didn’t smoke. One of my proudest and most memorable moments in law school was having him sustain my objection in a mock trial. A story he told about practicing in Delaware county is a story I still repeat. Professor Krivoshey – we called him “Kriv” – loved teaching and he loved students. That’s what made him so special.

John Quigley, professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

It is tempting as a teacher to take credit for students who later excel, especially when they excel in the field in which you taught them. Bob Krivoshey was in a section of Criminal Law I was teaching when he was a student at the College, and after graduation he pursued a career in criminal law. The reasons for Bob’s success were in him well before I first asked him to recite the facts of a case. Bob’s philosophical bent was never far below the surface as we puzzled over questions such as whether criminal punishment deters the commission of crime. He was serious in trying to figure out how the criminal law fits into the larger society, and what policies governments should pursue to deal with crime. Even though Bob thought about criminal law from this broad perspective, he was solid on the technical side. That showed in his years of practice in criminal law. So when Bob began teaching at the College, he brought to bear both a strong knowledge of what one needs to do to rep  resent a client in a criminal case, and a sense of the social context in which the criminal law operates and what it all means. That is what made him the outstanding teacher from whom our students had the privilege of learning the law.

Josh Stulberg, professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Bob Krivoshey was one of those persons on whose backs strong educational enterprises are created.  He focused intently and in laser-like fashion on serving and supporting students.  His collegiality as a faculty member was unrivaled.  He wore his remarkable intellectual power and performance skills with utmost humility.  He knew nonsense when he saw it, but had the gift to confront it in a way that invited rather than deterred continuing discussion.  I cannot recall any conversation I had with Bob, from professional to personal matters, that did not leave me smiling and energized.   In a historical language of a tradition that we shared, he was a “mensch” in every way.  We will miss his presence on every valued dimension.

Greg Williams, former dean, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

I am truly saddened to learn of Bob Krivoshey’s death. His contributions to the law school and the university are enormous. He has impacted generations of OSU law students, faculty, staff and alumni. I was very fortunate to be one of his students, even though while Dean of the College of Law, I co-taught the Criminal Defense Clinic with him. Not only did I learn much from Bob about the inner-workings of the Franklin county courts. I marveled at his rare ability to truly understand the humanity of the poor and destitute clients we represented and I witnessed first hand, his unique ability to lead and inspire our students. His office was often a refuge for me from the demands of my daily schedule, and I always treasured  the long conversations we had and was constantly amazed at  the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience and his personal commitment to justice and fairness for everyone. But most of all I will always remember his infectious sense of humor and the fun  it was to be with him. I will miss my good friend, Bob Krivoshey.

Samir Dahman ’07

Best. Teacher. Ever. Inspiring and effective. May he rest peacefully.

Louis A. Jacobs, professor emeritus, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Bob and I taught the Criminal Prosecution Practicum together for more than a decade.  At the first class we would talk a bit about our background, solicit each student’s experience and interests, and then tell the students to make an appointment with Bob for him to get to know them better so that he could assign them the most suitable cases.  I overheard some of those conversations and over the course of the semester participated in portions of others: Bob was able to ask the most impertinent, intimate questions in the least intimidating or intrusive manner.  Out of those sessions came a bond that many students remember as the most important of their law school studies.  He held the same sessions with his trial competition teams, and an even stronger bond was formed. He was genuinely interested in each student’s hopes and doubts.  The students developed confidence in Bob’s ability to support them in cases or the competition, and he developed insight about the nature and extent of the support needed.  In the clinic, once the cases were assigned, that bond allowed him to ridicule “knuckleheads” in ways that were immediately understood as good-natured and instructive.  Laughter was a teaching technique, nothing was out-of-bounds, and no one, including him and me, was exempt.  We operated a small law firm with two senior partners, and the class sessions were mainly dedicated to reporting on what had happened in Delaware courts, investigations, or conversations with opposing counsel and witnesses and what would be done to prepare for trial, plea bargaining, or motions practice.  Bob provided insight about what had really happened and distilled the critical areas for preparation.  Teaching with Bob was a pleasure, and hearing the laughter coming out of his office or during class a joy.  What was most comforting was watching that bond develop.  He enjoyed his relationship with the students, knew that he was imparting knowledge and developing skills, and aspired to make them better people.  His commitment of time and energy to the students and their positive response to his methods made him unique.  Bob was also empathetic and nurturing in his relationship with his colleagues.  Whether the morning coffee and talk with Earl Murphy or the moments sharing challenging moments in our personal lives, what made him so fine a teacher made him so delightful a colleague.  He did not want to talk much about his cancer, the amputation, or the limits, but he would proudly, lovingly talk about his wife and children, close friends, and Buckeyes football.  All who interacted with him were enriched, and he will be terribly missed.

Igor Brin ’10

It’s with a sad heart I have to say goodbye to another amazing professor for the Moritz record books. Professor Krivoshey made evidence, another procedural class that should have been dry and painful, one of the greatest laughs and experiences of my law school career. He was a professor in the classroom, a mentor and friend outside. Sir, you were a humble man with a profound impact on us all. Enjoy your rest!!

Goldie Shabad, wife of Professor Krivoshey

I have not yet had the courage to read your messages.  I wish you to know, though, how grateful he was to the College for allowing him to do what he loved and how much he treasured his colleagues and students.

Steven Rosenblum ’89

Bob’s passing is a loss to the university, his past students, and the future lawyers that will no longer have him as a teacher and a role model. I was privileged to be in Bob’s first classes at Ohio State, his first National trial team, and to have him as a mentor ever since. As a young impressionable student, Bob was not only my professor, but also helped influence my career path and future. There are many teachers that are great educators and Bob was among them, but his best skill was always his ability to help guide his students lives and ambitions. After law school I became a Prosecutor in Chicago. I spent 25 years dedicating my life to public service. It was a career path that Bob helped guide me into, and one that has led to a very fulfilling life. From time to time, Bob would reach out to check in. He always had his students on his mind.  Often his calls were seeking my help for a recent one of his graduates who were looking to have a similar career path to mine. I was happy to help because if they came with Bob’s stamp of approval, I knew I was getting the best and the brightest. After my years as a prosecutor, I ascended to the bench. Bob could not have been happier for me.  I will miss his occasional email or phone call, but most  of all I will miss his friendship.

Charles Hardaway ’93

Out of all the classes and professors I had at Moritz, Prof. Krivoshey was the most influential. The lessons he drilled into in trial advocacy, moot court and the Prosecution and Defense Practicums I draw upon every single day. I prosecute War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. I work mainly in tribunals. I have found that for every challenge in Court, be it civil law or common law, every Barrister who thought that he/she knew everything and should be deferred to just because he was British trained, I could ALWAYS draw upon a lesson that Prof. Krivoshey taught. From tactics, to presentation, to organization he made sure to cover all the bases and made sure you KNEW what to do and when to do it. Honestly, I would not be the lawyer I am today without Prof. Krivoshey. For that I am eternally grateful. I just feel sorry for all those students at Moritz in the future who will not have the benefit of drawing upon his wisdom and experience. he will be deeply missed.

Shawn Dominy ’97

I remember vividly Bob’s timeless advice in Trial Advocacy.  I was exasperated about all there is to remember for a trial, and I was nervous about forgetting things.  Bob said, “Don’t worry about memorizing, just talk to them.  You know the case.  Just talk to them.”  I recall Bob’s advice at the beginning of every trial.