Law School Receives Major Gift to Endow Chair, Fellowships, and Student Fund

Yale Law School announced a gift from the estate of Oscar M. Ruebhausen, a 1937 graduate of Yale Law School, that is expected to provide more than $30 million to the School. The gift to the Law School is one of the largest in the history of American legal education.

Yale Law School has designated Wednesday, September. 21, as Oscar M. Ruebhausen ’37 Day, to commemorate Ruebhausen’s gift and his lifelong support of the School.

The day’s events will recognize the generosity of Ruebhausen and his wife, Zelia P. Ruebhausen. Their gift will serve to support an Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professorship of Law awarded to Professor Roberta Romano, a leading expert in corporate law. The fund will also support Oscar M. Ruebhausen Visiting Fellows; the Zelia P. Ruebhausen Student Fund; and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund.

Ruebhausen was a distinguished partner of the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP for almost fifty years, and served as its presiding partner between 1972 and 1981. He served as president of the Bar Association of the City of New York, a key adviser to Nelson Rockefeller, general counsel to the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, and chairman of the boards of the Russell Sage and Greenwall Foundations. In 1978, he was awarded the Law School’s Citation of Merit. He passed away in 2004, fourteen years after the death of his wife Zelia, a 1937 graduate of Vassar College who served on the boards of the League of Women Voters, the International House of New York City, and the African American Institute. From 1972 to 1977, she was a member of the twelve-member commission charged with revising the Charter of New York City.

“Yale Law School could not survive without the generosity of its alumni, few of whom were more dedicated to their alma mater than Oscar M. Ruebhausen,” said Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. “He was the type of lawyer that our students and graduates hope to become. He was a social architect deeply committed to the very best values of the law and the legal profession.”

“Through this generous gift,” added Dean Koh, “the Ruebhausens sought to enhance the intellectual vitality, creativity, and analytic rigor of Yale Law School, while emphasizing the role of the legal profession as an advocate for the public interest. This gift will enable us to continue this proud tradition at Yale Law School, and at the same time help us support the School’s close intellectual and social interactions between faculty, students, and visiting fellows.”

The events on September 21 will include a panel discussion and Professor Roberta Romano’s inaugural lecture as the first Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor of Law.

At 2:00 p.m. in Room 127, Dean Koh will moderate a panel discussion by the first slate of Oscar M. Ruebhausen Visiting Fellows, titled “Nationhood and International Law.” Four distinguished jurists will explore the relationship between international legal norms and domestic law. The panelists are: Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court of Israel; Dieter Grimm, Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of Germany; Frank Iacobucci, Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; and Jon O. Newman ‘56, Senior Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

At 4:30 p.m. in Room 128, Roberta Romano, the first Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor of Law, will give her inaugural lecture, “After the Revolution in Corporate Law.” Professor Romano will discuss the causes of the late twentieth- century transformation of corporate law, as well as the effect of this change on corporate practice, corporate regulation, and corporate legal scholarship.

Romano is a founder of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law and has written extensively on takeover regulation, state competition for corporate charters, shareholder litigation, institutional investor activism in corporate governance, and the regulation of financial instruments and securities markets. Her books include “The Genius of American Corporate Law” and “The Advantage of Competitive Federalism for Securities Regulation.”

Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345