In Memoriam: Professor Gary A. Munneke

Pace Law School mourns the sudden and unexpected passing of our friend and colleague, Professor Gary A. Munneke. An active member of the local and national legal community, Professor Munneke died on Thursday, November 22 from a pulmonary embolism. His obituary, which includes funeral arrangements, can be read here.

Professor Munneke was best known for his work in the field of law practice management and the ever-changing state of the legal profession. Having started his legal career in career planning and placement, Professor Munneke was a lifetime devotee to preparing and developing future generations of lawyers. Among his many courses, Professor Munneke taught Professional Responsibility, and seminars and classes on Law Practice Management and the Legal Profession. Outside of the law school community, Professor Munneke was an affable and itinerant leader in the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, having most recently chaired a sub-committee of the latter’s Task Force on the Legal Profession and co-authored its corresponding seminal report.

“Gary Munneke was one of the true leaders of the organized bar, both at the State and National levels. He cared about lawyers and the legal profession and gave fully of himself to help all of us serve the justice system better. He included humor, intelligence and a keen sense of what was possible and proper in all that he did.” James R. Silkenat, President-Elect (2012-13) American Bar Association.

A transplanted Texan, Professor Munneke joined Pace Law School in 1988 as its Associate Dean for Placement and Career Services and then as Professor of Law, transitioning from faculty and career planning positions at Widener University and University of Baltimore Schools of Law. During his tenure at Pace Law School Professor Munneke participated in many committees, most recently focusing on how to integrate technology more fully into legal education.

“Gary was kind, polite and unfailingly forward-looking. He was the first to learn about new technologies and teaching techniques,” notes Professor Bridget Crawford who worked with Professor Munneke on issues related to technology in the classroom. “He encouraged all of us to think about legal education in the future tense. Gary was a rational voice of collegiality. He will be missed.”

Professor Munneke was a prolific speaker and writer, authoring law review and journal articles as well as chapters and entire books on professional identity and choices and the legal profession. His most recent works included The Essential Formbook: Comprehensive Management Tools for Lawyers, Volume IV (2004), Law Practice Management in a Nutshell (2d ed. 2003) and Nonlegal Careers: In the Private Sector, Fifth Edition, ABA Career Series (2007 edition with Willliam D. Henslee and Ellen Wayne).

“Gary was a mentor and an inspiration. He seemed to be involved in every aspect of the legal profession and legal education, touching so many lives professionally and personally,” recalls Rachel Littman, Pace Law School Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development who worked with Professor Munneke on the 2011 NYSBA Task Force on the Legal Profession. “He will really be missed.”

Professor Munneke received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas. His full bio and CV are viewable on the Pace Law School website.

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43 Responses to “In Memoriam: Professor Gary A. Munneke”

  1. Gary was an inspiring teacher, a generous colleague and a true gentleman. My heart goes out to his family.

    Mark R. Shulman
    Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and International Affairs
    Pace Law School

  2. Professor Linda Fentiman Reply 24. Nov, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Gary Munneke, our esteemed colleague, was an innovative thinker and scholar who worked mightily to ensure that law schools remain closely connected to the legal profession. Gary was a distinguished leader in the American Bar Association and a talented and enthusiastic professor. His passing is a great loss to the legal community, his fellow faculty, and Pace Law students and alumni.

  3. Horace Anderson, Associate Dean for Academic Affai Reply 24. Nov, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Gary Munneke’s academic purpose and overriding goal was to ensure the preparation of our students to join the legal profession. Not merely to think like lawyers and not merely to do the work that lawyers do, but to be lawyers. To internalize professional history, values, and mores. To think both philosophically and entrepreneurially about the role of lawyers in society. He applied boundless energy, intellectual rigor, and good humor to his goal, and our students have been the better for it. In fact, Pace Law School has been the better for it, and his loss is immeasurable.

  4. Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, past Assistant Dean for Enviornmental Law Programs Reply 25. Nov, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I am so saddened to hear of Gary’s untimely passing. Gary was a true mentor to me in the ABA – he just spoke and led sessions in September at the Section Officers Conference with his usual good humor and effectiveness. He was dedicated to the practice of law and to those who would carry on in the future. I will add Gary to my prayers and wish great solace to all who were fortunate to be part of his personal and professional life.

  5. My conversations with Gary at the recent ABA Board of Governors meeting demonstrated his strengths: great intellect and common sense. What a terrible loss to his community, his family and the greater legal community. I will miss him.

  6. Gary Munneke was an excellent professor and a kind soul. His passing is a loss to us all. My deepest sympathies to his family, his colleagues, and the rest of the Pace Law School community.

  7. Gary Munneke was an engaged educator and lawyer who cared deeply about the legal profession and about legal education. He thought hard about how both must change and was a creative and optimistic voice in the conversation charting the future. His writings, which live after him, will help shape our school and others for the better for years to come. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.

  8. Pace Law School is a better place because of individuals like Gary Munneke. He inspired many. I always respected his advice and support as a colleague. I will miss his laugh and great sense of humor the most. My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends during this difficult time.

  9. Mary A. Lynch, Albany Law School, Clinical Professor of Law Reply 25. Nov, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Although I only met and started working with Gary in 2010, his warmth, collegiality and generosity left such an indelible impression that his untimely passing fills me with grief and a sense of loss for what more he could have done to redeem our profession.  My heart goes out to his family and Pace Law colleagues.    I am grateful that I got the chance to collaborate with him on the NYSBA Taskforce on the Future of the Legal Profession.  I learned so much from Gary about collaboration, about belief in the goodness of law and lawyers, and about the importance of human kindness and generosity in each encounter.    I will carry these lessons with me forward in my own work in memory of Gary.

  10. Gary was a very generous and positive supporter of Pace Law School’s New Directions for Attorneys program since its inception, teaching two classes per session–one on “Alternative Legal Careers” and one on “Law Practice Management.” He was an integral and extremely popular part of New Directions and it is simply impossible to imagine the program without him. No matter what other commitments he had, Gary always made the time to teach these two classes, often traveling for hours from Maryland just to join us. We have been receiving emails and tributes since yesterday morning from our participants and graduates, including one from a current participant who has suggested that we dedicate this session’s Certificate Award Ceremony on February 15, 2013, to his memory–Carroll, Katy and I will be honored to do so. We will miss Gary very much and hold his family, colleagues, and friends in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time. The Law School and the legal profession have lost a wonderful colleague and an exceptional human being.

  11. It is still hard to believe that I will not again be relishing Gary’s wit, wisdom, and warmth, whether in a faculty meeting, at a student function, or during a casual conversation. His eyes truly did twinkle and his smile was infectious; he was frank but gentle, erudite yet always focused on practical concerns, unpretentious although mindful of protocol and ever a stickler for good process. Gary played a very important role in and for this law school and we will miss him sorely. We can take some consolation in the knowledge of how much he loved his work, demonstrating to our students and to us all that a lawyer can achieve a rich, complex, satisfying professional life that contributes greatly to the community. I wish his family the best that can be at this so sad time.

  12. Some years ago, Prof. Munneke, Prof. Mushlin and I team-taught a seminar in Civil Rights Lawyering in the 60s and Legal Ethics. Both Gary and Michael are “sons of the South” (Gary of Texas, Michael of Mississippi) and both brought an extraordinary depth and perspective to the discussion. Gary was a gifted and generous teacher, and spoke movingly of what it was like to be young and socially aware at such a critical time in our history. I’ll never forget sharing a classroom with such a fine colleague and master teacher.

  13. I had the pleasure of having Professor Gary Munneke as my Torts professor during my first semester of law school. What I remember the most was his vibrant energy, passion for law, and a strong desire for his students to thrive.

    I recently saw Professor Munneke in the faculty lounge and he still exuberated that same energy after so many years. As a Professor, I try to emulate the same energy and passion to my students that Professor Munneke had instilled in me and so many others. This is a great loss for the Pace Community and he will be greatly missed.

  14. I have been a close personal friend of Gary’s since 1975 and a colleague at Pace Law School since 1988. I chaired our appointments committee when Gary was recruited and a few years later I chaired his tenure review. His contributions to the bar are extraordinary. He was a superb teacher and an ourstanding scholar. We will miss him and remember him.

  15. Gary Munneke was a dedicated and outstanding member of the Pace Law School Community. His warmth and generosity were remarkable, and he supported our work at the Pace Women’s Justice Center for years. We feel the great loss and send our deepest condolences to his family.

  16. Andrew J. Provence Reply 26. Nov, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Professor Munneke taught with remarkable enthusiasm. I enjoyed his class at Pace and, for many years afterwards, his CLE lectures. Truly a loss to Pace Law and the greater legal community.

  17. To Prof. Munneke’s family, please accept my sincere condolences. His commitment to his students’ needs is illustrative of his character and integrity. When I had the pleasure of becoming one of his students, Prof. Munneke was amused when I told him how instrumental he was in my attending Pace Law. Upon getting my acceptance letter I remained hesitant to commit and went to my local book store to further research the law school experience. The first book I opened was How to Succeed in Law School by Prof. Munneke; I immediately noticed that he was a professor at Pace Law and took that to be a sign of positive reinforcement. I, like countless others, was lucky to have the opportunity to meet the author personally.

  18. I am deeply saddened to learn of Prof. Munneke’s passing. My sincere condolences to his family.
    During the most difficult time of my law school career, Prof. Munneke reached out to me. What a kind, empathetic and intelligent man. His cheerful demeanor, encouraging words, and love of life were integral to my success at Pace. Prof. Munneke, I am fortunate to have known you. Thank you for everything.

  19. Bhavleen Sabharwal Reply 26. Nov, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I had Professional Responisbility class with Professor Munneke and then Law Practice Management with him during my 3rd year. I remember how he taught all his students to think critically and analyze scenarios as a true lawyer would. I will miss his jokes and his big “jolly” laugh. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and students.

    Bhavleen Sabharwal Class of 2011

  20. I remember Professor Munneke when he first came to Pace University School of Law as an Associate Dean and Professor. He was engaging and caring, with the desire to mold us into lawyers who would do right for our clients and the profession. His passing is a loss to the legal community.
    Steven A. Kass, Class of 1992

  21. We all have those cherished few professors whose lessons linger long after graduation. Professor Munneke was one of those professors, and the individual I hold most directly responsible for where I am as an attorney. I took his law practice management course to heart, and it laid the groundwork for my office’s practice management today. Even after I moved out of New York, I regularly consulted Professor Munneke on practice issues through NYSBA’s small firm committee. Even to an out of state attorney, he was always generous with his time, kind with his advice and a trusted resource.

  22. I was only once privileged to have serendipitously bumped onto the late Professor Munneke where I was rushing to get to my LAW 802 course as we exchanged a brief conversation about Texas and New Orleans where I completed my doctorate. I found him to be a true gentleman and a honorable scholar-statesman. Later, I on a few occasions heard of the high sentiments form students. Pace was indeed to have attracted and retained high quality professors as his caliber.

    we wish his family perseverance through this difficult times and hope that wit the passage of healing time, his fond memories and nostalgic moments remain eternal among his family, friends and collegaues.

  23. Professor Munneke was my Torts II Professor, my independent writing professor and my mentor. He had an open door policy and I felt comfortable asking him about any and everything that concerned me. He helped me tremendously with my legal writing and taught me how to think like a lawyer. We kept in touch sporadically after law school but I never forgot his generosity of mind and spirit. He left us too soon. I wish his family and friends sympathies during this time of grieving.

  24. I had Professor Munneke for Professional Responsiblity. He was always so kind and patient with all of his students. He took the time to listen to you and treated his students fairly. He was always smiling and never offered a bad word about anyone. I will miss sitting next to him at our yearly alumni dinners.
    My sincere condolences to his family.

  25. I am so sad to hear this news. What a loss for Pace and, more importantly, the world. My deepest sympathy to Professor Munneke’s family and friends.
    Jill O’Sullivan
    Class of 1993

  26. Gary Munneke was, in so many ways, a gentle giant. He had an enormous intellect, and passion for the law and lawyers. He possessed unfailing energy for innovation and improvement of a profession mired in precedent. He had limitless patience for long winded meetings if the participants were lawyers and the subject was service to the profession, or how the profession can make the world a better place. He had a great appetite for wonderful food and friendship of those of use who served with him on the Board of the American Bar Association. He expressed endless love of his family, and will be missed forever by those of us who had the privilege and joy of coming to know and work with him through the ABA.

  27. Gary Munneke was a great professor and mentor. He was truly dedicated to the profession of law and insistent on making it more collegial, service oriented, and geared towards making the lives of others better. I am truly saddened by this news- he will be missed.

  28. Professor Munneke will be greatly missed. He was a great professor who cared about his students and the law. He will truly be missed by everyone he touched. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

  29. Cherie Ann Sherman Reply 26. Nov, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Prof. Munneke was a generous human being who cared about students. He was willing to take that extra step to help students succeed in their careers. His enthusiasm was infectious.

  30. I am shocked to learn of Gary Munneke’s untimely death. I just had a conversation with him a few weeks ago about the future of the teaching of law practice management. He was my mentor when I first started teaching the subject at University of Maryland Law School and a valued friend. He was always generous of his time and encouraged me to get involved with the Law Practice Management Section of the ABA. He was a futuristic bar leader and carved new pathways in legal education. I will really miss him.

  31. I will sorely miss Gary’s collegiality and friendship. His ability to present reasonable, praatical positions at faculty meetings should inspire all of us to live up to his lead. My deepest sympathies to his family.

  32. Professor Munneke’s gregarious personality, coupled with his engaged and practical approach to teaching, is far from replaceable. I had the pleasure of taking both Professional Responsibility and Law Practice Management with him, which were among my most enjoyable times in law school. His mastery of the law, and his dedication to the field, will I’m sure be appreaciated by many. I have no doubt that he will be held in high regard by all of those whose lives he has touched, both in and out of the classroom. My condolences to the family..

  33. Gary has been a true and good friend, and I am grateful for his support and kindness over the years. He was an articulate advocate for the library, and the staff remembers his inspiring words to them at our staff retreats. Gary thought a lot about the future of law practice and legal education, and had all kinds of plans for integrating technology into the curriculum. He was full of life, adored his family, and always looked for the good in every situation. I will really miss him.

  34. Professor Munneke was my professor for Professional Responsibility and this semester’s seminar on the Legal Profession. He loved to delve deep into discussions about lawyers, always being careful to incorporate everyone’s differing viewpoints. He was very intuitive and sometimes I felt as though he could read my mind before I spoke.
    In his last email to our class, he told us that, following our discussion on the portrayal of lawyers in film, he went home and watched To Kill a Mockingbird in its entirety. His passion for ethics in a changing world was truly inspiring. He will be greatly missed.

  35. Angie D'Agostino Reply 27. Nov, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Gary was not only first a mentor to me as as new staff member in the admissions office when I joined Pace Law School, he was a dear, dear friend. I cherished our almost weekly talks about the future of the law school and his amazing ability to always put everything in perspective. We always ended our conversations in updates about family members which always put a big smile on his face. Gary, the campus feels different, but we know you are still here moving us forward. My condolences to the family he loved so much – my prayers are with you Sharon….

  36. Stephanie Skelly Reply 28. Nov, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    My heart goes out to Professor Munneke’s family and to the Pace community for this sudden and terrible loss. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to call him a professor, mentor and friend.

    I am saddened by the loss of his smile and laugh, both of which were fittingly larger than life. He seemed to enjoy every task and every day that was given to him, and his enthusiasm, optimism and great humor will be sorely missed.

    My deepest sympathies to his family; he spoke so often and so highly of you that I’m sorry to have not had the pleasure of meeting you. I hope the knowledge of all of the lives that he touched is of some solace to you during this difficult time.

  37. Adele Lerman Janow, Evening Class of 1990 Reply 30. Nov, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    It was with great sadness when I learned of Professor Munneke’s passing. It is so difficult to believe that he will not be with us sharing his wit and intelligence. Professor Munneke had a true allegiance to our Law Alumni Association. I will miss his presence at our table at the Leadership Dinners, but know his spirit will be with us.
    My sincere condolences to his family, friends and the Pace Law School Community.

  38. Mohammed Al-Harbi, L.LM class of 2012 Reply 03. Dec, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I was truly saddened to hear this news this morning from Saudi. I was privileged to work with him on my thesis. Professor Gary was an inspiration to me and i’m sure he was an inspiration for many other international students. He was always in high spirits and the smile never leaves his face. My heart goes out to Professor Munneke’s family and to the Pace community for this sudden loss.

  39. Gary was an amazing leader and mentor for all of the younger lawyers in his universe. I will never forget his impact, kindness and grace.

  40. I just read the sad news of Gary Munneke’s death. His efforts to give Pace Law School national recognition and visibility are second to none. Filling his role will be difficult. He was a steadfast friend and colleague.

  41. Christina Langella Reply 07. Dec, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Professor Gary Munneke was a remarkable professor. Words can not describe what he has done for me. I had the honor of working as his research assistant this past year. He was more than my professor; a legal ethics expert; my mentor; my boss. Professor Munneke was my friend and will be deeply missed.

  42. Professor, always “Professor” to me. You made me think about a lot of things. About the future of the profession, about communication, about who we are and where we want go. And moreover, do we still have a choice in the way things are going! Or are we just facing an uphill battle, a runaway train.,,, Thankfully for the PILSO Auction, I had the fortunate opportunity to have lunch with you recently. I an so grateful for your wisdom, your insight and your laughter!
    Go in Peace, you have done much work here.

  43. Christine Santimaw (nee Cragg) Reply 08. Mar, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I just learned of Professor Munneke’s passing away. Sharon, my heart goes out to you and the entire family. Gary Munneke was the most intelligent, insightful, thoughtful professors I had while at Pace. I was lucky to also count him as a friend. I will never forget the impact he had on me during my time in White Plains.