April 16, 2018
Former Tulane Law School Dean Lawrence Ponoroff.
A portrait honoring Lawrence Ponoroff, the 21st Dean of Tulane Law School, who guided it through the challenging days following Hurricane Katrina, was unveiled April 12 before faculty, students, alumni, and his friends and family.
Speaking at the unveiling, current Law School Dean David Meyer paid tribute to Ponoroff’s scholarly achievements as well as his legacy of rebuilding the university structure after Katrina’s devastation.
“Upon my arrival in 2010, just five years later, I entered an institution that was demonstrably stronger in many respects than it was before Katrina. That can be attributed to Larry’s efforts, stewardship and extraordinary leadership,” Meyer told the gathering in the Wendall H. Gauthier Appellate Moot Court Room, 110, in John Giffen Weinmann Hall.
Gary Roberts, who served as Deputy Dean with Ponoroff and is now President of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and Robert C. Hinckley (L ’76), chair of the Tulane Law Dean’s Advisory Board, both spoke of Ponoroff as a mentor and friend, a hands-on leader with a sense of humor and a deep passion for Tulane.
“I am proud to call him a friend,” Roberts said.
Hinckley remarked that Ponoroff was not just a good leader, but also remains one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in the country, who continues to be prolific in writing scholarly articles and teaching future lawyers the craft.
“We were lucky to have had Larry here and are grateful for his contributions to Tulane,” Hinckley said.
For his part, Ponoroff was appreciative of the warm welcome he received from former colleagues, students, and friends.
“I’m not sure that I deserve such an honor, but it means the world to me to be honored in this way,” he told the group, which included his wife, Monica, and his children.
Lawrence Ponoroff and his family alongside his portrait.
The portrait, commissioned from New York-based, award-winning portrait artist Joseph Q. Daily, continues a long tradition of honoring former law school leaders on canvases that are hung throughout the building.
Ponoroff, who currently serves as Dean and Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law, left a legacy at Tulane over his eight-year tenure from 2001-2009 as Dean and Mitchell Franklin Professor of Law. Under his leadership, the law school increased the selectivity of its admissions and annual fund contributions to the school doubled. During this period, the law school started its Domestic Violence Clinic, providing legal services to victims of intimate violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
Ponoroff successfully created two endowed chairs and seven new professorships at the law school and revitalized the Dean’s Advisory Board to help guide the school during the most challenging times following Katrina. At the request of then-University President Scott Cowen, Ponoroff took on university-wide responsibilities, along with those at the law school, as Tulane launched its post-hurricane recovery efforts.
Ponoroff left Tulane in 2009 to become Dean of the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where he also served as the Samuel M. Fegtly Chair in Commercial Law. Before becoming an academic, Ponoroff was a partner with the Denver-based law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen (now Bryan Cave HRO) specializing in corporate and commercial litigation.
Ponoroff is the author or co-author of more than two dozen law review articles and essays, as well as seven books, in the areas of business and consumer bankruptcy, contracts, and commercial law. From 1992 through 1994, he served as the Reporter to the Long-Range Planning Subcommittee of the Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He was Vice Dean of Tulane Law School from 1998-2001.
A graduate of Stanford Law School, Professor Ponoroff has previously taught as a visitor at the University of Michigan Law School, Wayne State University Law School, and as a member of the faculty at the University of Toledo College of Law, where for two years he also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He has received outstanding teaching awards from three different law schools.
Ponoroff is also the recipient of the 2015 Editor’s Prize from the American Bankruptcy Law Journal for the best article in the previous year’s volume. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
More photos from the unveiling are available here.