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88 The University of Chicago Law Review 1715 (2021)


There is arguably no more seminal a figure in the field of law and society than Professor Marc Galanter. That a Special Issue featuring dedications to several leading academic lights would be hosted by the University of Chicago Law Review is especially significant in terms of Marc’s inclusion because Chicago is where Marc came of age as a student.

Professor Richard Abel, some years back, chronicled Marc’s educational journey in Hyde Park. As Abel tells it—and as Marc has told me over the years—after finishing his B.A. and while continuing to work on his master’s degree from Chicago, Marc enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania for law school in 1953. Yet after a frustrating first year at Penn, because of what he saw as the narrow confines of legal education, Marc returned to Chicago—his intellectual oasis. There, he finished his M.A. and began at the law school as a second-year transfer student, and he ultimately earned his J.D. in 1956.

This Essay will offer my perspective on the influence that Marc has had on different areas of the law, as well as on me. In what some of my friends in India might refer to as “destinical,” forty years after Marc contemplated leaving legal education and the law altogether, he encountered a terribly naïve student who was experiencing similar sentiments after his 1L year. In 1994, after completing two semesters at Ohio State, I felt lost. I knew that I had a keen interest in how law intersected with politics, particularly within the country from where my parents immigrated— India. I also knew that I might one day want to write and teach in the areas of law and social science. But beyond these generalities, I was not sure about much else.