Jan. 6, 2021 – University of Houston Law Center professor and legal scholar Peter S. Linzer passed in December 13 after a battle with a long-term illness. His keen powers of observation, analysis and languages informed a lifetime of scholarship, commentary and teaching. He is survived by a wife, a son and a grandson.
Linzer joined the Law Center faculty in 1983 as a visiting professor, serving from 1984 to 2020 as a professor of courses such as Contracts, Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Torts, and Contract Negotiation and Drafting.
Law Center colleagues and friends reflect on his character and contributions, noting Linzer’s kindness, humor and passion for academia and fostering student success.
“Peter was a noted contracts scholar who published two editions of A Contracts Anthology, and he served as the editorial reviser of the ‘Restatement (Second) of Contracts,’” Dean Leonard Baynes said. “Working with experienced practitioners, he pioneered a transactional course in international contracting that sees students negotiate and draft documents in simulated international deals.”
“He was one of my fiercest advocates from day one,” said Professor David R. Dow. “Particularly in this day and age, his fidelity to what he believed, irrespective of what others thought, is how I will remember him.”
“Peter was brilliant and so kind and generous,” Newell H. Blakely Professor of Law Sandra Guerra Thompson said. “He was always eager to lend support to his junior colleagues, and I was a beneficiary of that generosity. I am deeply saddened.”
“He loved the law, the liberal arts, a good story and a good argument,” Law Foundation Professor of Law Seth Chandler said. “I never decided whether he disliked superficiality or law and economics more. His voice will be deeply missed around the Law Center.”
“I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Peter’s passing,” said George Butler Research Professor of Law Meredith Duncan. “He was a good soul with a unique and larger than life personality. He was always so gracious and kind to me. I fondly remember him sitting next to me in my first faculty meeting and providing accompanying commentary, as only he could do. His presence will certainly be missed here at the Law Center.”
“Linzer was quite a character, and everyone who had him as a professor has a Linzer story,” said former student DeDe Davenport. “I’m sad the upcoming 1Ls won’t get to have their own Linzer stories – I can only imagine him teaching on Zoom! He was . . one of a kind.”
Linzer earned an A.B. degree from Cornell University in 1960 and a law degree from Colombia University in 1963, graduating with Moot Court Honors and as both a Stone Scholar and National Scholar. He also served as articles editor of the Colombia Law Review.
Prior to teaching, Linzer practiced law on Wall Street and worked as assistant corporation counsel for the city of New York. He taught at the law schools affiliated with the University of Detroit, Washburn University and the University of Cincinnati before joining the University of Houston Law Center.
Linzer was a Life Member of the American Law Institute, chair of the Contracts Section of the Association of American Law Schools and a board-certified specialist in civil appellate law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He served for nearly a decade on the Pattern Jury Charge Committee of the State Bar of Texas and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Eleventh International Contracts Conference held in San Antonio, TX.
He has authored various articles, book chapters and reviews on contracts, torts and arbitration and served as a contributor on legal topics to radio and television programs in both Houston and Detroit on contract and constitutional issues, including Red, White and Blue (KUHT Public Television, Channel 8); Houston Matters (KUHF, 88.7 FM Public Radio); and multiple appearances on Channels 2 (NBC), 11 (CBS), 13 (ABC), 26 (FOX) and 39 (CW).
Memorial donations honoring Peter Linzer may be made to Doctors without Borders, the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. The charity can be acknowledged by sending an email to Rhea Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail to her c/o of the Law Center.