Feb. 21, 2018 - Colleagues, current and former students and friends gathered on Feb. 15 to celebrate the life of professor and University of Houston Law Center Dean Emeritus, Raymond T. Nimmer, who died Jan. 24 at the age of 73.
Nimmer was remembered for his legal scholarship, sense of humor and style and his countless friendships at a ceremony last week at the Geo. H. Lewis & Sons funeral home.
Nimmer was eulogized by Jeff Dodd '79, a partner at Andrews Kurth Kenyon, Professor Emeritus Richard Alderman, Professor Paul Janicke, Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Zach Scott, a current student at the Law Center.
"Ray loved his students and they loved him," Dodd said. "One recent testament to that love of him occurred when his students learned of his passing. They spontaneously began placing flowers in the parking spot reserved for him at the Law Center. Some of his former students are creating a permanent testament by establishing the Dean Raymond T. Nimmer Memorial Scholarship to encourage and reward talent succeeding us at the Law Center, Ray's home for over 40 years.
"As I think about the legions of students, his webs of friendships and the outpouring of condolences and expressions of grief from colleagues and friends afar, I realize that we are the living and durable testament to the extraordinary life of Ray Nimmer."
Alderman praised Nimmer's work ethic and his expertise in diverse areas of law, including commercial law, criminal law, contracts, bankruptcy, licensing and information law.
"With each changing direction, Ray succeeded," Alderman said. "Ray knew only how to succeed. He was not your typical law professor, but Ray wasn't a typical anything. Ray did what he wanted to do and seemed to always want to do something different.
"We often discussed various issues and I was so impressed with his knowledge, his inquisitiveness and his quick comprehension of what we were looking at. His ability to quickly synthesize, organize, digest and coordinate information was astonishing."
"Ray and I shared adjacent offices at the Law Center," added Janicke. "As you might imagine, we had many discussions over the years. Now there is an overpowering silence from what was his office. I really miss him a lot. For me, his departure marks the passing of a bigger than life, multi-faceted person, and I'm going to continue to miss him."
Baynes reflected on his first encounter with Nimmer in the summer of 2014, before he formally started as dean.
"I knew Ray best from the perspective of him being a former dean," Baynes said. "After our first lunch, it was clear to me that although we were two very different people, we shared the passion to move the institution forward. Ray was always available to me for private counsel and consultation. He was a great former dean.
"The Law Center is thankful for having had Ray Nimmer among its faculty and family for more than four decades, and as the current dean of the Law Center, I can say from all of us at UHLC that he will be deeply missed."
Scott, who worked as a research assistant to Nimmer, credited him for challenging his students and making them better for it.
"He was always available," Scott said. "His door was always open. My experiences, while they're special, they are not unique. I know there are hundreds of students around the world who could say the same thing and share similar memories as emotions.
"That's what made him a special person. He had a big impact on a lot of people's lives in a lot more ways than people think."
For more than four decades, Nimmer was one of the most influential legal scholars and lawyers in Houston, the nation and the world. He was widely sought after as an author, speaker and visiting professor for his scholarship in the fields of intellectual property and information law, international commercial law and technology law. He authored more than 25 books and numerous articles. Nimmer was a member of a number of prestigious organizations of legal scholars and lawyers, including the American Law Institute, the Texas Bar Foundation, and the American College of Commercial Finance Attorneys. He was named among the Best Lawyers in America in Intellectual Property Law and in Information Technology Law.
In addition to his duties at the Law Center, Nimmer was a distinguished chair- in-residence at Universidad Catolica in Lisbon, Portugal.
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.