In 1994 during his first stint as acting dean, Ray allowed me to migrate from contract professor to the tenure track. It was very helpful for my future, placing me in line for committee chairmanships and for receiving the endowed professorship I was blessed with. Through all the succeeding years Ray and I worked on many common projects, like forming IPIL by merging his information law program and our intellectual property program, and debating the pros and cons of proposed Law Center programs. Still, my fondest memories of Ray are not from those events, but from officing next door to him during all the years before and after his deanships. With that proximity, we had many discussions on law topics, and his observations were enlightening and helpful in my classrooms.
Ray was not one to crow about his achievements, and maybe that is why he receives too little credit for his leading efforts in what we now call digital or information law, developments that have now become second nature for most of us. During the years when I taught Licensing, I frequently stopped next door on my way to class to check with Ray as a sounding board for licensing and other contract issues. His answers were often somewhat surprising to me, and we would end up looking at each other across the desk in his office for a while, smiling at our apparent disagreements. Usually he had the better view.
Ray seemed to treat distant travel, conferences, speeches, and similar commitments with an off-putting ease, such as his arranging for me years ago to join him in speaking at a two-day law conference at Trinity College Dublin. He spoke of it as though Dublin were no more distant than Dallas. He had no patience for the travel details; they could always be arranged. For him Lisbon was just like a Houston suburb.
Perhaps less widely known about Ray was his devotion to the visual and performing arts. He was a talented painter, with many of his works hanging in his home and office. He was also a music devotee, as I learned by seeing his surprisingly emotional response to classical music.
With our adjacent offices we often spoke about many other subjects as well: the future of law schools generally and the future of the law profession; law school admissions policies; about student financing of their legal education; and how law firms were making their litigation decisions. The next-door office has been uncommonly quiet since Ray left it for the last time a few months ago. I have really missed him, and I many times find myself wondering what he would have had to say about topics of the day.
Paul Janicke: Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center.