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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Walk Softly for a Giant has Passed....

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

It is 6 in the morning here in Glasgow, Scotland, and as the sun rises over the city I am preparing for another day of teaching advocacy in Strathclyde’s Advocacy LLM program run by Dame Elish Angiolini, the principle of St. Hugh’s College in Oxford. I get to spend a day working with lawyers who want to become better advocates in the courtroom and I count myself blessed to have this special time with them. It is a blessing to do what we do with others who care as deeply as we do about that precious mix of hard work and talent necessary to create ethical, competent and compassionate advocates who fiercely fight for the rights of their clients. 

While my body is here is Glasgow, I find that my heart left sometime on Friday, making its way through those paths known only to our inner most selves to Philadelphia where folks are gathering to grieve the passing of a true teacher of teachers and master trial lawyer - Eddie Ohlbaum. To those of you who have not heard, Eddie passed away recently after putting up the good fight against cancer. I wanted to share with all of you in our community the information Sarah Jacobson has provided:

Dear all,

This is an email I never wanted to have to send.  It is with a deep and abiding sadness that I write to inform you that yesterday, following a brief, fierce battle with cancer, my mentor and our friend, Eddie Ohlbaum passed away.  This may come as a shock to some of you who did not know he was ill.  Eddie did not want many people to know that he was sick, so that fact was generally kept quiet.  No one will appreciate more than this group to hear that although this week was our Spring Break and his health rapidly declined in the past seven days, Eddie was at the Law School every day-coaching trial team students on evidentiary issues; working on case theory with our NTC squad; and up until the end, arguing with doctors that he was not going to the hospital because he was going to Texas in two weeks.

But he won't.

Information about services and Shiva are below, solely for the convenience of those who might want to send his wife, Karyn, a card, but there is no expectation that any of you step out of your life to travel to Philly.  Forgive me if I've missed people who would want to know about Eddie's passing.  Please forward the information on to others who should be told.  I started here, with the list of people he initially solicited for revisions to his Model Rules of Ethics, as you seemed the right people to tell.  Separate from the below, eventually there will be a Trial Ad or Trial Team scholarship set up here in Eddie's name.  I'll make sure to get that information to you when we have it.

Funeral services in Eddie's memory will take place on Sunday morning, March 16th, at 9:30 AM in the Sanctuary at Congregation Beth Am Israel - 1301 Hagys Ford Road in Penn Valley. Burial will follow at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, NY.  Shiva will be observed at Karyn's home - 1205 Hagys Ford Road in Penn Valley - Monday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 each evening.  The family requests that contributions in Eddie's memory be directed toward The Innocence Project at Temple Law School [ http://www.innocenceprojectpa.org/waystohelp/default.asp] and/or The Support Center for Child Advocates [http://www.advokid.org ].
Today at Temple our hearts our a little heavier, and our courtrooms a little darker.
Holding you each in my thoughts,


Sara Jacobson
Director of Trial Advocacy Programs and Associate Professor
Temple University, Beasley School of Law
1719 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-0661

Over the next few months I am sure many of us will gather together, in large groups and small, to share memories of this brilliant man and phenomenal friend. 

Cary Bricker and Jay Leach out at McGeorge will have a silent memorial and moment of silence and gratitude on behalf of Eddie at their Ethics competition this spring. 

At Stetson our EATS conference is going to give out an annual award for the coach who embodies Eddie’s legacy of fierce ethical advocacy. We will also acknowledge his passing during our conference. For those of you who may not know, Eddie was one of the founding members of law professors who joined together to begin the EATS conference years ago. I called him up with the crazy idea of the need for a true community of advocacy coaches and teachers and he immediately came on board with ideas of how to make it even better. How quintessentially Eddie.

I am sure I join all of you in acknowledging the tremendous void his passing leaves. In times like these we can only do what we can do. I for one just wanted to share the deep sadness and love that fills my heart when I think of his absence. Now I am going to go and do what Eddie would do and teach some students.

All the best,


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