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    03.16.15 Brooklyn Law School Mourns the Loss of Professor Robert Pitler ’66
    Brooklyn Law School Professor Robert Pitler

    Professor Robert M. Pitler ’66, a member of the Law School’s faculty since 1988, died on March 15 after a long illness.   

    “Bob Pitler was a deeply cherished and revered member of the Brooklyn Law School community who had a profound and lasting impact on generations of students,” said Dean Nicholas W. Allard. “He will be greatly missed for his passion for teaching and the law and, above all, his tireless dedication to his students, who will never forget him. His passing is a tremendous loss for the Law School community, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his daughter, Rebecca, and his brother, Sandy, and to his large circle of close friends.”

    Professor Pitler joined the Law School faculty in 1988 after 13 years in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served as Chief of its Appeals Bureau, Chief of the Investigation Division, and Counsel to the District Attorney. At BLS he taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and a seminar in Law and Film. His seminal article on the constitutionality of New York’s search and seizure procedures, which was published in the Brooklyn Law Review, is considered the authoritative source on the subject.  

    Professor Pitler served as faculty advisor to the Moot Court Honor Society for the last 12 years, a program that stands out as a law school highlight for many BLS students. For more than 20 years, he directed the annual Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition, the premier appellate advocacy evidence competition in the nation, for which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. 

    His commitment to students extended beyond their time at the Law School. He created the Criminal Justice Post-Graduate Fellowship Fund almost 20 years ago to provide loan forgiveness to experienced BLS alumni who practice criminal law in the public sector. Last year, he announced 10 alumni recipients of the Fellowship, which is funded by his popular CLE Criminal Law and Evidence Seminar.

    “Bob had an unusual combination of characteristics that made him a very special person,” said Professor Ursula Bentle. “Though he had a brilliant legal mind, he never flaunted it. He was more concerned about people, foremost his students, than about lofty scholarship, though he contributed significantly on that front as well. He had the tenacity of a bulldog when it came to doing things right. That tenacity could be trying to those working with him, but because he cared so deeply and had such integrity, everyone loved him. Brooklyn Law School will miss him.”

    The Brooklyn Law School Alumni Association named Professor Pitler a Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for his many achievements and remarkable devotion to teaching. At the annual Alumni Association Luncheon at the Plaza on January 30, many of Professor Pitler’s family members, friends, and former students gathered to celebrate this greatly deserved honor. Coco Culhane ’10 and Sparkle L. Sooknanan '10, this year’s Rising Star Award recipients, movingly paid tribute to him in their remarks. Professor Pitler was too ill to attend the luncheon, but his good friend Bill Roskin read his touching and humorous remarks to the audience. (Read Professor Pitler’s remarks here. Watch the video here.)

    Charles H. Solomon ’72, Acting Justice for the Supreme Court, New York County, said:  “Bob was my greatest friend. I’m glad his suffering is over. May he rest in peace.”

    The Law School will celebrate Professor Pitler’s life, accomplishments, and enduring legacy at a memorial event this spring. Details to follow in the coming days. 

    Share your memories of Professor Pitler here.