Professor Alphonse Squillante teaching Secured Transactions, spring 1988.
He was one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of commercial law, a man who literally wrote the book(s) on the UCC, but I always thought he looked like he’d be more at home driving a Checker Marathon around Manhattan. That’s not to say he was out of place by any means–if ever anyone was born to be a teacher of the law, it was Professor Squillante.
I’m not technically one of his “cubs,” since I didn’t have him for Contracts I, but I had him for Secured and did get to know him. Not long after I landed my judicial clerkship, I happened to be up on the fourth floor on some errand when Professor Squillante spotted me and asked me to step into his office…
…The conversation went something like this:
I understand you’ll be clerking for the Supreme Court of Ohio. That’s a very prestigious appointment. Congratulations.
Thank you, sir.
You know, Mr. Morley, I’ve been cited by thirty seven* state supreme courts, but never by Ohio.
Well, sir, I can’t make any promises, but I’ll see what I can do.
I guess it was one of the items on his “bucket list,” to see if he could get cited by the highest court in every one of the fifty states.
Somewhere about the middle of my first year at the court, my judge drew the job of writing a majority opinion in an auto insurance case. The Official Reporter’s staff attorneys cite-check all of the draft opinions, and they were somewhere between obsessive and compulsive about having at least one citation for every point of law in the opinion, no matter how bland and uncontroversial. This meant that I had to have a bunch of cites for a bunch of bland and uncontroversial basic propositions of insurance law, which meant I went up to the law library to find a good hornbook on the subject.
And there it was, sitting fat and happy on the shelf under the LC classification for “insurance,” Automobile Insurance and No-Fault Law by M.G. Woodroof, John R. Fonseca & Alphonse M. Squillante, published by Lawyers’ Co-Op in 1974 and updated with annual pocket parts.
You know what happened next.
After the opinion was released, I got a call from Professor Squillante thanking me for the cite.
Please share your Professor Squillante memories in the comments.
*That might not be the exact number, but it was well over half.