Remembering Professor Emeritus Morris G. Shanker

Professor Emeritus Morris G. Shanker

Professor Emeritus Morris G. Shanker passed away on August 18 at age 93.  Professor Shanker, who joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1961 and served as Acting Dean of the law school in 1972, had a considerable reputation in the fields of commercial law, creditor-debtor law, and bankruptcy. He held the John Homer Kapp Chaired Professorship and was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Professor Shanker graduated from Purdue University with an Engineering degree in 1948 and received both a JD and an MBA from University of Michigan in 1952. He began his career as an attorney at Grossman, Schlesinger & Carter (1952-61) before joining our faculty.

Professor Shanker served on the original Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules of the U.S. Judicial Conference and acted as a special master in the federal courts. He was a fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference and the American Law Institute. 

Upon his retirement after 49 years on our faculty, the Case Western Reserve Law Review published a series of tributes to Professor Shanker in Volume 61, Number 1 (Fall 2010). The tributes were written by Dean Bob Rawson (available here), then-Chief Judge Marilyn Shea-Stonum '75 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Professor Bill Leatherberry (available here), and Professor Erik Jensen (available here). 

According to Professor Jensen, “Morrie was the consummate student of bankruptcy and commercial law—whose work was known to scholars and practitioners around the world; a beloved teacher; and a wonderful friend and colleague.”  Noting that Professor Shanker was concertmaster of the University of Michigan Orchestra when he was a law and business student there,” Jensen adds: “Morrie could play a mean fiddle too.”

One of his former students (later a faculty colleague), Bill Leatherbery, said that Professor Shanker taught “the majority view, the minority view and the Shanker view.” 

He was not fond of meetings and was always the first to supply a motion to adjourn as faculty meetings came to a close, Professor Leatherbery recalled. To this day, the Law School Faculty end meetings by saying, “who will make Morrie’s motion?” 

“I remember Professor Shanker as a wise and becalming presence during turbulent times,” recalled Dean Michael Scharf. “He was one of the kindest and most generous individuals ever to serve on our faculty,” added Dean Jessica Berg.

Professor Shanker was predeceased by his wife Brondy, who passed away in 2016. They have one surviving daughter, Dr. Jaymie Shanker, a psychiatrist in Beachwood. There will be no funeral or memorial services that are accessible to the public.  Condolence cards can be sent to: Dr. Jaymie Shanker, 19202 Lomond Blvd., Shaker Hts. OH  44122.