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73 Notre Dame L. Rev. 737 (1997-1998)


When I had the chance to leave law practice and become a fulltime law teacher, I turned, in the time-honored fashion, for advice from my law teachers. The most memorable and persistent of these—the most cheerful, too, and therefore the most hopeful—was Robert E. Rodes, Jr., then a young (36), transplanted New Yorker, Harvard law graduate, and Boston lawyer. He had already come to flourish, in the Aristotelian sense, in the Midwest—in a Catholic university known more for its football players than for its lawyers.

Rodes told me he had come to teaching and to Notre Dame because he wanted a contemplative life—not an obvious vocation for the father of seven, teaching four sections of law classes per semester, faculty advisor for the law review, and already a prolific scholar. Thirty-five years later those who continue to learn from him, as his seventieth birthday has come and gone, would guess that he has done what he wanted to do when he came to Notre Dame in 1956, and that this is nowhere more evident than in his unique theological jurisprudence.

In the spring of 1995, a group of Rodes's friends read through his work in jurisprudence and gathered to talk with him about it and about his current (seventh) book, Pilgrim Law. That book and what these friends said to one another in 1995 are the basis of these reflections.


Reprinted with permission of the Notre Dame Law Review.

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