Article Title

Harry Pratter’s Wisdom

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

91 Indiana Law Journal Supplement 1 (2016)


From 1950 to 1994 Harry Pratter taught law at Indiana University- Bloomington. One of his favorite sayings (he had many of these) was Maitland’s “[T]aught law is tough law,” a phrase that a forty-four year teaching career entitles you to utter with some frequency. In response to Sartre’s notorious challenge, “Do you have anything to say?” Pratter could certainly answer yes. He took Sartre literally. Pratter preferred to speak—that is to teach, and not to write. The source of Pratter’s strong preference for speech over writing must remain a mystery. The consequence is that a good deal of what he thought and said has not been preserved. That’s a shame because Harry Pratter had something to say that was well worth hearing. The hope is that this essay will be able to convey something of the flavor and tenor of Harry Pratter’s thought.