Pace Law School mourns the sudden and unexpected passing of our friend and colleague, Professor Gary A. Munneke. An active member of the local and national legal community, Professor Munneke died on Thursday, November 22 from a pulmonary embolism. His obituary, which includes funeral arrangements, can be read here.
Professor Munneke was best known for his work in the field of law practice management and the ever-changing state of the legal profession. Having started his legal career in career planning and placement, Professor Munneke was a lifetime devotee to preparing and developing future generations of lawyers. Among his many courses, Professor Munneke taught Professional Responsibility, and seminars and classes on Law Practice Management and the Legal Profession. Outside of the law school community, Professor Munneke was an affable and itinerant leader in the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, having most recently chaired a sub-committee of the latter’s Task Force on the Legal Profession and co-authored its corresponding seminal report.
“Gary Munneke was one of the true leaders of the organized bar, both at the State and National levels. He cared about lawyers and the legal profession and gave fully of himself to help all of us serve the justice system better. He included humor, intelligence and a keen sense of what was possible and proper in all that he did.” James R. Silkenat, President-Elect (2012-13) American Bar Association.
A transplanted Texan, Professor Munneke joined Pace Law School in 1988 as its Associate Dean for Placement and Career Services and then as Professor of Law, transitioning from faculty and career planning positions at Widener University and University of Baltimore Schools of Law. During his tenure at Pace Law School Professor Munneke participated in many committees, most recently focusing on how to integrate technology more fully into legal education.
“Gary was kind, polite and unfailingly forward-looking. He was the first to learn about new technologies and teaching techniques,” notes Professor Bridget Crawford who worked with Professor Munneke on issues related to technology in the classroom. “He encouraged all of us to think about legal education in the future tense. Gary was a rational voice of collegiality. He will be missed.”
Professor Munneke was a prolific speaker and writer, authoring law review and journal articles as well as chapters and entire books on professional identity and choices and the legal profession. His most recent works included The Essential Formbook: Comprehensive Management Tools for Lawyers, Volume IV (2004), Law Practice Management in a Nutshell (2d ed. 2003) and Nonlegal Careers: In the Private Sector, Fifth Edition, ABA Career Series (2007 edition with Willliam D. Henslee and Ellen Wayne).
“Gary was a mentor and an inspiration. He seemed to be involved in every aspect of the legal profession and legal education, touching so many lives professionally and personally,” recalls Rachel Littman, Pace Law School Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development who worked with Professor Munneke on the 2011 NYSBA Task Force on the Legal Profession. “He will really be missed.”