Jan. 25, 2018 — Raymond T. Nimmer, a former dean and professor at the University of Houston Law Center for more than four decades, died Wednesday at the age of 73.
A recognized authority on commercial law, information law, and intellectual property law, Nimmer was the Leonard H. Childs Professor of Law. In his time at the Law Center, he served as associate dean from 1978 to 1985, as interim dean from 1993 to 1995, and as dean from 2006-2013. He also served as co-director of the Law Center's Intellectual Property and Information Law (IPIL) Institute. Nimmer, who earned a B.A. and J.D. from Valparaiso University in Indiana, joined the UH law faculty in 1975.
"Nimmer's pioneering work in computer law and information law helped establish IPIL's national and international reputation nearly three decades ago," said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. "His service to the Law Center as dean, twice, provided leadership and advancement that benefits us today."
"Ray cared about the Law Center and making it as great a law school as it could be, as much as anyone in the 40 years I was on the faculty," said former Interim Dean Richard M. Alderman. "He was one of the brightest, most hardworking and well respected people to serve on our faculty."
"Ray taught generations of students to see the law governing information from a holistic perspective with his rare combination of expertise in commercial law, contracts, licensing and information law, the latter being a category he helped create," said Law Center Associate Dean Greg R. Vetter, an intellectual property law scholar and expert.
"He wouldn't strike you as a big feminist, but actually he was," said Barbara Evans, Alumnae College Professor of Law and director of the Center on Biotechnology & Law. "He made considerable progress toward gender-balancing our faculty and successfully recruited a crop of women scholars who are now coming of age as full professors and leading scholars in their fields.
"He was a real polymath- one of the only lawyers I know who could hold his own in an argument about differential equations or vector and tensor analysis," added Evans, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering.
"Ray Nimmer was one of the most influential legal scholars of his generation," said Sandra Guerra Thompson, Alumnae College Professor of Law and director of the Law Center's Criminal Justice Institute. "Throughout his long career he made impactful contributions, whether it was rewriting a major section of the Uniform Commercial Code or, more recently, his pioneering work in computer and information law.
"As dean he was a fair-minded, innovative administrator who skillfully recruited first-rate faculty members and students, propelling the school to the top ranks nationally. He was an artist, a connoisseur of life's finest, a world traveler, and, to countless people, he was a dear, trusted friend."
Over the years, Nimmer taught Contracts, Internet Law, Electronic Commerce, Bankruptcy, Secured Financing Law, Copyright Law, Information Law, Sales, Contract Drafting, and Licensing Law. He was the co-Reporter to the Drafting Committee on Revision of U.C.C. Article 2 and the reporter for the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). He authored over twenty-five books and numerous articles, including a three-volume treatise on Information Law, a pioneering multi-volume book on the Law of Computer Technology, a treatise on Modern Licensing Law, and a multi-volume treatise on The Law of Electronic Commercial Transactions.
He was a member of the American Law Institute, the Texas Bar Foundation, and the American College of Commercial Finance Attorneys, and a frequent speaker at programs in the U.S. and abroad in the areas of intellectual property, business and technology law. He was named among the Best Lawyers in America in Intellectual Property Law and in Information Technology Law as well as numerous "Who's Who" listings.
Nimmer served as a consultant to the National Science Foundation and the Office of the Legal Advisor of the U.S. State Department and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of International Commercial Law. In addition to his duties at the Law Center, Nimmer was a Distinguished Chair- in-Residence at Universidad Catolica in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Law Center will hold a celebration of Professor Nimmer's life and career with details to be announced.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to the Raymond T. Nimmer Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Houston Law Center, 4604 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77204-6060.