Washington University Law Professor Kathleen Brickey Dies

Washington University School of Law Professor Kathleen F. Brickey, a leading scholar in the field of white collar and corporate crime law, passed away on June 19, 2013.

In 1984, Professor Brickey published a three-volume treatise, Corporate Criminal Liability.

The New York Times, in an April 2013 article on women pioneers in the field of white collar crime, called Professor Brickey “the dean of the field.”

The article noted that she published the first law school text on the topic and that her treatise came out “long before corporate criminal liability became a topic of public debate.”

In fact, Corporate Criminal Liability preceded the Enron financial accounting fraud scandal by 17 years; the scandal became the subject of her more recent scholarship.

Her casebook, Corporate and White Collar Crime, now in its fifth edition, is the leading student text in the field.

In 2008, Professor Brickey book Environmental Crime: Law, Policy, Prosecution became the first law school text devoted exclusively to the study of environmental crime.

One of Professor Brickey’s interests was the impact of extensive media coverage on the outcome of high-profile cases like Enron, the Deepwater Horizon, and the Martha Stewart scandal.

“She was concerned with the potential of aggressive media coverage and manipulation of publicity to undermine the court system,” the law school said in a post on its web site. “Over the course of her distinguished career, Professor Brickey wrote more than 20 substantive articles about the Enron scandal and its progeny, other corporate liability issues, the federalization of criminal law, and environmental crime.”

“The enthusiasm she brought to each course and to each student she taught, year after year, is a testament to Kathy’s passion and commitment to teaching,” said Kent Syverud, dean of the law school. “She was a brilliant scholar whose work changed the field of corporate criminal law, and she brought this expertise into the classroom.

“She mentored numerous students into work with judges, prosecutors, public defenders, the Justice Department, and Attorneys General offices,” Syverud said. “Kathy was an exemplary servant to our university and the law school community. She will be greatly missed.”

“I first met Kathy as a member of the law school dean search committee in 1985–87,” said dean emeritus Dorsey D. Ellis, Jr. “My regard for her good judgment, leadership abilities, and conscientiousness led me to call upon her a number of times since to chair the faculty appointments committee, the law faculty’s most critical and demanding committee. Her outstanding record of service, both within the school of law and in the profession, will be her lasting legacy.”

Stephen Legomsky, the John S. Lehmann University Professor who is on leave serving as the Chief Counsel of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, remembers Professor Brickey as a wonderful colleague.

“Kathy was a great scholar and teacher, but more importantly a wonderful person and dear friend,” Legomsky said. “She chaired the appointments committee that hired me 30 years ago and, perhaps feeling some responsibility for what she had done, has mentored me and supported my work ever since in the kindest and most generous way.  She was a truly lovely person whom I’ll deeply miss.”

Before joining Washington University, Professor Brickey taught at the University of Louisville School of Law.

Professor Brickey is survived by her husband of 44 years, James N. Brickey, and several nieces and nephews.

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