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Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012

“My mother wanted to recognize the affection my father had for UC Hastings,” recalls Mike Traynor, the Traynors’ eldest son. “She had the idea of housing his papers and effects at the law school, and we are delighted with the way it has worked out.” In addition, between 1979 and 1990, Madeleine Traynor established five funds at UC Hastings in honor of her husband, which have recently been consolidated into one—the Honorable Roger J. Traynor Fund—with the aim of “providing the college with optimal flexibility in using the funds as needed,” explains Mike Traynor. The Traynor gift has also been used to fund the UC Hastings Roger J. Traynor Summer Professorships, an inten- sive program for corporate law professors. a TransforMaTIve Tenure Roger Traynor was, in the words of his New York Times obituary, “often called one of the greatest judicial talents never to sit on the United States Supreme Court.” His service on the California bench was distinguished by groundbreaking decisions that positioned the state at the forefront of modern liberalism. The more than 900 opinions he authored had a resounding impact on other state courts throughout the country and paved the way for sweeping changes in many legal disciplines, most notably products liability, an area of law that Traynor is credited with creating. His work in family law was equally influential. In 1948, Family Album Traynor’s opinion in the landmark case Perez v. Sharp was the first time a state supreme court disallowed a statute prohibiting Top to bottom: A young Roger J. Traynor; the interracial marriage. Four years later, he presented an opinion esteemed jurist with two of his sons, Mike and that laid the groundwork for no-fault divorce. Joe; Traynor with his wife, Madeleine. “My dad was deeply committed to public service,” says Mike Traynor. “I think the qualities that made him so effective were his practical judgment, hard work, and sense of timing. He had a gift for knowing where the law was, where it was headed, and when it was timely or too early to make changes.” Today, lawyers and scholars visiting the UC Hastings library can read many of Traynor’s opinions, which were considered to be so well written and thoughtfully reasoned that they earned him membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a rare distinction for a judge. In addition to his son Mike, an attorney, Roger Traynor is survived by another son, Joe, a leading agronomist. A third son, Stephen, passed away in 1952. 54 FAll 2012


Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012
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