Arthur T. Vanderbuilt (1888–1957)
A legal reformer and educator, Arthur T. Vanderbuilt is considered one of the greatest judges in American history. He was not only an outstanding jurist but a legal reformer who made a mighty contribution to the administration of justice and was as well a noted legal educator. Graduating from the law school in 1913, Vanderbuilt first made his mark as a trial and appellate attorney in his native Newark. Beginning in 1930 he was appointed Chairman of the New Jersey Judicial Council orchestrating what would become a 17-year effort to reorganize the state's courts and state government. Championing the state constitution of 1947, Vanderbuilt was appointed chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court the following year, serving until his death in 1957. During his term of office, the judicial system of New Jersey served as a model for the administration of justice to other states and jurisdictions. On the federal level, Vanderbuilt's service contributed to the creation of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Vanderbuilt also served as president of the American Bar Association.
In 1919 he began teaching at the NYU Law School, becoming dean of that institution in 1943. In effect, Vanderbuilt made the NYU Law School what it is today by raising standards, recruiting faculty, creating institutes, and enhancing the overall reputation of the school. It was Vanderbuilt who originated the concept of a law center where academicians, practioners, and jurists can study and contribute to the advancement of the law. Arthur T. Vanderbuilt was, in the words of the noted legal authority Roscoe Pound, an individual "entitled to a high place among those who have raised our institutions to their highest possibilities". Clearly, a Columbian ahead of his time.
Submitted by Carmenaty Rudy, School of Law 1990, who is solely responsible for the content.