Sat Mar 28 2015 16:02:39 UA Law | Professor Dan B. Dobbs - Updated: 28.04.08  

In Celebration of Dan B. DobbsDan DobbsProfessor Dan B. Dobbs is retiring from Arizona Law in May, 2008. In five decades of writing, teaching, and practice, Dan B. Dobbs has helped shape the law of torts. He is the author of two leading treatises – The Law of Torts, and The Law of Remedies – and a coauthor of the treatise Prosser & Keeton on Torts. He has guided many casebooks to print, including five editions of Torts and Compensation Systems, the last three with co-author Paul T. Hayden. In addition, he has published more than thirty scholarly articles.

Along with his prolific scholarship, Professor Dobbs has taken an active role in teaching and service. He has given numerous presentations to judges, lawyers, faculty, and student groups. He also served as a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Torts and Remedies sections, and continues to be an active member of the American Law Institute. In 1992, Professor Dobbs was named a Regents Professor of the University of Arizona – the highest academic distinction that the University can bestow.

Professor Dobbs’ work has influenced both national and international audiences. U.S. courts have cited his books and articles in thousands of cases including nearly one hundred United States Supreme Court opinions. His contributions to the international community include work as an American participant in the European Group on Tort Law – the group charged with harmonizing the tort law of the countries in the European Union.

Retirement CelebrationArizona Law warmly invites all alumni, attorneys, and friends to celebrate with us:

When: Friday, April 18, 2008 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Where: Corleone Student Center, 1035 E. Mabel Street Tucson, Arizona 85719

We hope that you will be able to attend.

Click here to watch the video stream

Arizona Law invited alumni and friends to send their memories and best wishes to retiring Professor Dan B. Dobbs. Here is a sampling of the extraordinary response.

Dear Professor Dobbs,
I don't practice in the area of torts, my law career being limited to civil litigation and, now, family law; however, I was honored to have studied under the Master of Torts, Professor Dan Dobbs.  To this day, the Case of the Hairy Hand both disturbs and fascinates me.  Professor Dobbs instilled a love of the gore and grit of personal injury and the drama and intrigue of the not-so-bloody torts.  It may have been his friendly yet fiendish delight over the variety and severity of the torts that pulled us in, leaving us wide-eyed with the horrible wonder of it all.  And to think, the poor souls named in our case book were real people that could be made right (if not whole) by deft and clever lawyers just like us!  Heady stuff.

After law school, when I would mention (to someone not having the good fortune to have attended the U of A) that I studied torts under Professor Dobbs, they would look at me in a new way, a bit awestruck, and I would take on some of the celebrity glow.  It was almost as good as saying you were friends with Justice O'Connor or had cocktails on a regular basis with Janet Napolitano.  Almost.

And now Professor Dobbs is closing the door on the elite group of us that can claim to have learned torts first-hand from the man who literally wrote the book on the subject.  Those that come to study torts after his retirement can only dream (with a fair bit of envy) of what it was like to sit in the classroom of Professor Dobbs and hear the stories from the Master himself.

Godspeed and best wishes to the Master on the next leg of his journey!

Pamela Donison
Class of 1999

Dear Dan:
I am sorry that a previous commitment to attend a Ninth Circuit committee meeting at the San Francisco Courthouse precludes my attendance at your celebration. From your contributions as an extraordinary teacher to your service to the bench and bar through your legal writing, we all owe you a great debt -- a debt of gratitude we can never hope to fully repay. Still, I would have liked to be there in person to make an honest attempt at a down payment.

Best regards always,

David K. Duncan
U.S. Magistrate Judge
District of Arizona

I started "thinking like a lawyer" midway through first-year Fall semester while staring desperately at Dobbs on Torts, trying to figure out how a person could assault another with smoke.  

I fought like a starved wolverine for every bit of learning in Torts.  I'm grateful that Professor Dobbs didn't give us the answers (oh, how desperately we wanted him to give us the answers) because I came out of that class knowing that I could learn whatever I wanted to learn. 

That determination has served me well in my career as a prosecutor in Maine.  My office is eternally short-staffed.  When I started, they showed me my desk and the piles upon piles of cases waiting for me to read and decide what, if any, crimes to charge.  I didn't get much training, no one was there to hold my hand, I had to teach myself.   After facing Professor Dobbs for a year, I knew I could do it.  Two-and-a-half years in, I'm still trucking along. 

I feel lucky to have experienced Professor Dobbs' class.   Thank you, Professor Dobbs, for everything that you taught me, and generations of other law students. 

Best of Luck,

Jessica Christensen
Class of 2005

Professor Dobbs,
I met you 26 years ago.  I believe you have more than earned your retirement!  You were a great asset to the law school, and made a significant impact in my law school days.  Thank you for believing in me, trusting me, and toughening me up.   You were a special person who touched my life.  Have a wonderful time traveling, writing novels, and whatever else you have planned.      

Tamara R. Walters
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Thank you for giving me the skills throughout my law career that were so necessary! Each day as I hear a case or write a decision, and formerly as a Commissioner of Insurance, I remember your words "Think Remedies."  During settlement discussions, I remind attorneys about your rule.  That rule has been so useful to me and one of the enduring things I learned during law school!  Wishing you a long and happy retirement.

Terry  Froncek Rankin
Appeals Officer for the State of Nevada,
Class of 1979

Dear Professor Dobbs,
Please accept my well wishes on your retirement from the University of Arizona College of Law's faculty.  As a former student, I learned a lot from you and enjoyed all of the courses I took from you.  I hope that your future holds nothing but the best: golf, travel, and no more whiny law students, perhaps! 

Take care.

Brenda D. Pryor, Esq.
Field Representative
Cook County College Teachers Union

Dear Dr. Dobbs:
I just want to extend my best wishes to you in your retirement.  Although I enjoyed your classes and your teaching style at the time, I have appreciated both of them more as the years have gone by.  You had an amazing (and unique!) enthusiasm, as well as being the (not one of, but THE!) master of both Torts and Remedies.  It was a point of pride to have had you as a professor. 
I will also always remember your excellent commencement address to our class, and thank you for somehow working me into the speech.  It was a privilege to be remembered. 

Best personal regards,

Jim Shook
Class of 1990

Dear Professor Dobbs,
Please accept my well wishes on your retirement from the University of Arizona College of Law's faculty. As a former student, I learned a lot from you and enjoyed all of the courses I took from you. I hope that your future holds nothing but the best: golf, travel, and no more whiny law students, perhaps!

Take care.
Brenda D. Pryor, Esq.

Professor Dobbs!
I wish you the best in your retirement and thank you for all you taught me. To this day, I still keep your Remedies book at work for reference! I learned a lot in your Torts and Remedies classes. Indeed, I still think of the cases we talked about while analyzing issues at work. Law school would not have been the same without you. By the way, I still smile when I think about how you and I had the same flannel shirt! Best wishes for a very happy retirement.

Lusanna Ro
Regional Counsel URS Corporation

Dear Dan-
Even though it has been 25 years since I graduated from law school, I still remember your class very clearly. You were an excellent and exacting professor. Although I was slightly nervous each time I walked into your classroom, that nervous anticipation drove me to be well prepared in case I was called on. And you thought it was my love of Torts. Gosh, I think I feel my stomach fluttering!

Mostly I thank you for imparting your deep regard for the law, displaying a discerning intellect and for your devotion to the law school and its students. All of the best as you embark on new adventures.

Best Regards,
Melody Robidoux (Class of 1983)

I'm not sure whether Prof. Dobbs will remember me as I only took one of his classes, but I will never forget him.  I had just gone from being the underground cartoonist, who caricatured professors on little scraps of paper that got circulated among the students, to having my cartoons published in the Arizona Advocate.  The edition with the attached cartoon entitled "Newsmakers," in which Prof. Dobbs and Satan co-author a torts Hornbook containing "more theories than you can swing a dead cat at" was published during the semester I took Dan Dobbs' Remedies course.

We were in the big lecture hall for the mid-semester final exam.  Prof. Dobbs was distributing the tests.  When he got to my row, he handed the pile of tests to the guy in the aisle seat, who took what he needed and handed the pile to the guy in the middle, who took his exam and then turned to me, empty-handed, looking very puzzled.  I called out, "Professor Dobbs, we didn't get enough tests."  He came back and announced, loudly enough for the entire class to hear, "You don't get one.  You've been drawing nasty pictures of me!"  Then, after grinning malevolently for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably just a few seconds, during which time numerous other career possibilities flashed through my mind, he handed me an exam.

Later that day, Prof. Dobbs stopped me in the hallway and apologized and said he hoped I hadn't been too shaken up, but that he figured I could take a joke.  He also mentioned that he would rather swing a live cat than a dead cat.  You will note that in the other attached cartoon he is depicted as the Mad Hatter.

So, Prof. Dobbs, I want you to know that I have been telling that story for 20 years, and while I can't remember much about Remedies, that was the only law school final I actually remember taking, even down to the names of the two other people in my row.  (Mike Proctor and Pat Greiten.)  And considering the cartoons you didn't see, I probably deserved being the butt of that particular practical joke.

I wish you a happy and healthy retirement.

Felice Wechsler,
Class of '88

PS  I passed the final!

I am so happy for Professor Dobbs but so sad for the law school at the news of his retirement. Almost 18 years ago, I was a student in his torts class, and what a wonderful and challenging teacher he was (and I'm sure still is). I thought his torts exam was one of the hardest but most thorough law school exams I had to take. (It was a toss up between his torts exam and Professor Strong's property exam.)

I'll never forget going to Professor Dobbs's office to seek some help and I was so intimidated by his brilliance and intensity that I used the word "irregardless" in my conversation with him. I immediately realized my mistake (as did he), and we laughed, and then he was very helpful and kind in his explanations of the tort concepts that I was having trouble with.

I hope as he embarks on the next chapter of his life, he will relish in his significant contributions to legal scholarship as well as to the many, many law students he has taught, whose analytical thinking has been challenged and sharpened by his extraordinary teaching.

Thank you very much Professor Dobbs, and my best wishes to you,

Sybil R. Kisken
Class of 1990

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