Renowned legal scholar Peter Tillers has announced his retirement, culminating a 27-year career at Cardozo School of Law.
Professor Tillers is a leader in what is known as “New Evidence Scholarship.” He has written numerous books, revised volume 1 of John Henry Wigmore's multi-volume treatise on the law of evidence, and published a wide variety of articles on evidence, inference and investigation. His scholarship focuses on evidential inference and fact investigation in legal settings, and he attributes the work of philosophers Kant and Hegel with helping shape his approach. Professor Tillers maintains that multiple methods of marshaling and analyzing evidence are important in trials, in pretrial investigation, and informal fact discovery, as well as in other disciplines.
Professor Tillers was an editor of Law, Probability & Risk and a former chairman and secretary of the Section on Evidence at the Association of American Law Schools. While teaching evidence at Cardozo, he organized major conferences in dozens of areas of legal scholarship, as well as traveling and lecturing around the world in the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Germany, China, and elsewhere.
“Peter's scholarship demonstrated a depth and dedication that few can achieve,” said Dean Matthew Diller. “During its early years, he helped Cardozo develop a reputation for serious scholarly pursuits. As a teacher and a member of the Cardozo community, he will be missed.”
Born in Riga, Latvia in 1943, Professor Tillers’ family was forced to flee during World War II, and he arrived in the United States in 1950. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Yale and a J.D. and LL.M. from Harvard School of Law. He maintained ties to Latvia throughout his career, serving as legal adviser for the Latvian mission to the United Nations during the 48th session of the General Assembly.
“Twenty-five years ago I recommended Peter Tillers to the Dean as an outstanding scholar who would enhance Cardozo Law School's intellectual reputation,” said Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and a former Cardozo Board of Overseers member. “Over the years he has become one of academia's leaders in the field of evidence, particularly in probability. So impressed was I with his work that I invited him to join as a co-author in the Tenth Edition of a leading casebook on evidence.”
In August, Professor Tillers moved to Chapel Hill, N.C. to be closer to family members for health reasons. In a letter to his colleagues at the school, he expressed his desire to keep up on their work. “Without abandoning rigorous standards, the Cardozo community genuinely welcomed and supported unconventional scholarly approaches,” he wrote. “I am extremely grateful for Cardozo's support.”
“With all his many achievements he is very humble and self effacing,” said Cardozo Law Professor Malvina Halberstam. “I was greatly saddened when he told me he was retiring, and even more so when he told me the reason.”
“Peter is an important intellectual influence on me and many law professors,” said Professor Roger Park of UC Hastings College of Law.
Professor Park praised Professor Tillers’ leadership in new evidence scholarship and the many conferences he organized, and added, “I will always be grateful to Peter Tillers for his insights and for his friendship.”
Among his other honors and achievements, Professor Tillers was the Fellow of Law & Humanities at Harvard University and the Senior Max Rheinstein Fellow at the University of Munich, as well as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. He will become Professor Emeritus at Cardozo Law in 2014.