In Memoriam Paul C. Weiler LL.M. ’65: 1939-2021: North America’s foremost labor law scholar and the founder of ‘sports and the law

July 22, 2021
Paul Weiler standing in Fenway Park

By Christine Perkins
HLS News

Paul C. Weiler LL.M. ’65, the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, renowned as North America’s foremost labor law scholar and the founder of sports and the law, died July 7 after a long illness.

Weiler left a multifaceted intellectual legacy. An expert in labor law, he pioneered protections for workers and constitutional reform in his native Canada. He produced seminal scholarship that framed the debate about U.S. labor law in ways that endure to this day. He also founded the field of sports and the law as a serious academic subject, which has resulted in many of his former students now serving in the upper echelons of the professional sports industry or teaching sports law themselves in law schools across North America.

“Paul Weiler’s brilliant work shaped labor scholarship for decades,” said Benjamin Sachs, the Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School and the faculty co-director of the LWP. “He helped teach us how labor law has a promise to keep — to give working people a real choice to form and join a union — and also the profound costs when law fails to fulfill that obligation,” said Sachs. “I’ll never forget how warmly Paul welcomed me to Harvard when I joined the faculty and how much that meant coming from such a preeminent scholar and leader of the field.”

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