IAOLE Mourns the Death of Prof. Deborah Rhode

From IAOLE President Yasutomo Morigiwa (Jan. 9, 2021)

Deborah Rhode, our founding president, passed away on 8 January 2021, at the far too early age of 68.  She was an extraordinary scholar in legal ethics, speaking and writing in lucid, laconic style. She played a major role in the establishment and organization of the discipline of legal ethics. Her effort in organizing the field on a global scale included the founding of this Association, of which she served as the inaugural president from 2010 to 2014. Always a generous and unfailing supporter of our Association, as well as being a warm and caring friend to many, she will be much missed throughout the world, both in the profession and in academia. Legal ethics will never be the same without her. As the bell tolls, let us carry and build on the legacy she has created.


See Deborah L. Rhode, International Legal Ethics: The Evolution of a Field, 42 Fordham Int’l L.J. 219 (2018), available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol42/iss2/1.


Professor Rhode’s Stanford Law School bio:

Deborah L. Rhode is the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on the Legal Profession. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Yale College and received her JD from Yale Law School. She clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1979.

She is the founding chair of the Section on Leadership of the Association of American Law Schools and was the founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics, a former president of the Association of American Law Schools, a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, a former founding director of Stanford’s Center on Ethics, a former director of Stanford’s Institute of Research on Women and Gender, a former director of Stanford’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship, and a former trustee of Yale University. She worked as counsel to the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton.

She is the nation’s most frequently cited scholar on legal ethics. She is the author of 30 books in the fields of professional responsibility, leadership, and gender, law and public policy. She has received the American Bar Association’s Michael Franck award for contributions to the field of professional responsibility; the American Bar Foundation’s W. M. Keck Foundation Award for distinguished scholarship on legal ethics, the American Foundation’s Distinguished Scholar award, the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award for her work on expanding public service opportunities in law schools, and the White House’s Champion of Change award for a lifetime’s work in increasing access to justice.