A Convocation in honor of Professor John Flynn will be held Thursday, August 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Flynn, a longtime professor at the College, passed away last April, at his home in Salt Lake City. A nationally recognized expert in antitrust law, he also taught classes in a variety of subjects from copyright and regulated industries to constitutional law, and served as a consultant and special counsel to the U.S. Senate’s antitrust subcommittee.
A native of Boston, Flynn earned his undergraduate degree at Boston College and his law degree from Georgetown. He also completed a Doctor of Juridical Science at the University of Michigan before joining the U of U College of Law faculty in 1963.
During his career, Flynn received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Federal Bar Association, the Utah Department of Commerce Consumer Service Award, the College of Law’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Rosenblatt Prize, the U of U’s highest honor, which is awarded annually at commencement.
He was also a much-loved and respected colleague. Professor Wayne McCormack met Flynn in 1978 when McCormack was interviewing for a teaching job at the College of Law. After joining the faculty, McCormack found Flynn to be a demanding and effective colleague. Upon Flynn’s retirement, in 2005, McCormack deemed him the “conscience of the College.” In elaborating on that description, he recently noted that, “John was the quintessential ‘loyal opposition.’ He could challenge an administrative decision and offer a constructive counter-measure in the same breath, all the while letting everyone know that his concern was for the health of the institution and its people.”
Hiram Chodosh, dean and professor of law, says that Flynn was the “most illustrious professor in the school’s history. Not only was he regarded nationally as a renowned scholar in his field, but he had the most profound and influential impact on more colleagues, students, and graduates of the College over four decades. “
Flynn maintained an open-door policy to his office and provided life guidance, as well as career counseling, to any and all who requested it. Then current students, graduates, practitioners, and colleagues from the U and elsewhere found a confidant and mentor who provided thoughtful and generous advice. Jessica Lowrey, a 1991 graduate of the College, reflected on the occasion of Flynn’s retirement that Flynn’s antitrust seminar was “intellectually fascinating and inspiring.” She added that she would have pursued a career in that field except for the fact that “antitrust enforcement was quite out of fashion” when she began practicing in the early ‘90s.
David Schwendiman, a 1976 graduate and former war crimes prosecutor in Bosnia, believes that Flynn taught by example. “He taught me a great deal about how to think and act as a lawyer,” Schwendiman explains. “He helped me understand what was expected of me as a professional and as a public servant. He set a standard that I wanted desperately to meet. I wanted to be the kind of lawyer and person who he respected as a friend and colleague. All of that was and is a powerful influence and will be so for a long, long time.”
Flynn was also known to follow the careers of former students. Richard Hagstrom, a 1976 graduate, recalls: “John learned early on in my days at the law school of my passion for antitrust enforcement. While I sometimes struggled to grasp the nuances of the economics involved, he was always a positive influence and through his ‘Socratic method’ assisted me in developing my own ability to analytically address complex problems. Although I left Utah to practice antitrust, we remained in contact and often discussed injustices and developments in the law — good and bad. He would call with new ideas for cases to be brought and wrongs to be remedied. John always sought justice, accountability, and fairness. He continued to be a mentor for me and my cases even while his health was failing. He was and always will be an inspiration to me. John will be dearly missed.”
The Spring 2005 issue of Res Gestae that coincided with Flynn’s retirement featured a series of articles and remembrances by colleagues and past students. Visit the URL below to read the issue online.
Additional details about Professor Flynn and an interactive online guestbook can be found at www.johnflynnmemorial.org