Letter from Bob Sable

(Bob Sable submits this lettter, sent to Gary in November 1995.

                                             November 16, 1995
Dear Gary, 

     Thank you.  Thanks for your inspiration, your leadership, your teaching.

     In 1965 or 1966 I was in law school. I read (in the New Yorker?) about the work you were doing with C.R.L.A. in California.  That is what I want do with law I thought.  You and Ed Sparer gave me the models of what a life in law devoted to social justice could be.

     About 1970, at my invitation you came to Cleveland to help in a training program for legal services lawyers.  You gave a presentation on negotiations.  I remember it to this day.  You elevated what I had previously thought of as a rather mundane activity (if I had thought about it all)  to a tool that with skill and thought could accomplish important things for our clients.  You did it through analysis and examples from your own practice. But the incredible thing was that because of your ability to break down what you had done into its components and to explain them, everyone in that room went away believing that they too, with some work, could accomplish what you had ccomplished. It remains to this day the most dazzling example of teaching I have encountered.

     I would see you after that every few years, often for only ten or fifteen minutes.  I would tell
folks that those few minutes gave me enough to think about for the next few years. (Although
sometimes, after spending the next years trying to implement an idea I had gotten from you, I would see you again and find out you had changed your mind!!)

     Time and again your ideas and your example have guided and inspired me and hundreds of
others as we struggled to use the law as a tool for a better society. You have constantly challenged us at
every level, from mundane issues of case management, to the structure of law and legal institutions in society. And, this has been very important, at least to me, you did so while you practiced.  You never left the field.  You have always been out there representing clients and bringing that experience to your ideas.

     It is a strange time to be writing this.  I cannot say, look around and take satisfaction in all you have accomplished.  All you have accomplished is under attack and the institutions you developed and fought for may not survive.  But I do believe that what you have taught and inspired in so many of us about law and social justice will survive. 

     So I'm glad your colleagues at Harvard have given us this chance to say, what we should have said so many time without prompting: Thanks, Gary.

                              With respect and love,

                              Bob Sable


Return to Reminiscences List