I had never seen a law professor get so emotionally caught up in the
subject-matter, nor had I ever seen one so excited by it. And, once started,
he could hardly
talking . . . When I ’phoned my wife later that day to tell
her how the symposium was going, virtually all I talked about was Professor
Bob Bickel.
II. Shaking the World Gently
After I had given my own presentation, Bob’s exuberant reaction aston-
ished me. Not only had my work rarely received such extravagant praise
before, but Bob was talking excitedly of having me join the faculty at Stet-
son in Florida. I could barely get a word in, and certainly imagined that such
enthusiasm would inevitably wane after a day or two.
But no! The next day, I was less than flattering in my criticism of an ill-
conceived paper presented by another Brit, and Bob could barely contain
his excitement at what I had said. He was still talking about having me
come to Stetson, but this time it sounded like a realistic possibility, for his
colleagues Peter Lake and Dean Darby Dickerson, who were also attending
the event, seemed keen on the idea too. With a tennis-playing family and
a wife who hated British winters, I obviously found the idea of moving to
Florida very appealing (and so did the family!)
Just over a year later, after apparently emerging from the scrutiny of the
whole faculty relatively unscathed, I did indeed join Stetson Law. Now I
am Bickeled on a regular basis, often several times a week. I’ve still never
seen a law professor so passionate about the topics that he teaches, nor
one so excited, in almost child-like wonder, by the subject-matter and the
opportunity our position gives us to research and teach others about it.
Nor have I ever met a law professor with the capacity regularly to change
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