"Perhaps the best way you can emulate David is to work hard and love what you do. He was the only person I ever met who worked every day of his life and relished it!"
--Rosemarie D. Siegel
I first would like to thank Rose, Sheela, Rachel, and the entire Siegel family for honoring me with the opportunity to speak today. Words cannot express how much I appreciate this kindness.
I have known and admired David since I was a law student. 1 agree with Dean Andrews that he could be scary, but only until you got to know him, as I did as his student and research assistant in 1978.
In New York Practice David was a taskmaster, and yet the most popular teacher in the school. He expected us to work hard, and we did. I remember the bar review course in which students from elite schools were desperately cramming New York procedural rules. We at Albany Law School were so well trained by David that during the bar review I never even looked at New York Practice.
David not only demanded hard work, for himself he set a work-ethic example that few practicing lawyers could approach, much less equal. David's writings are vast, and I confidently predict that his legal writing will never be equaled for its combination of quality, lucidity, and humor.
So to honor David today, let me quote briefly from some of his work, because David's own words illustrate his masterful communicative skills far better than any eulogy.
You all doubtless know that David was something of a genius in the turn of a phrase, but perhaps some may not know of his periodic forays into poetic commentary. The following was published some years ago in the American Bar Association Journal.
David was reporting on a Texas case in which a plaintiff rancher sued for damages when the defendant's bull broke through a fence and as David described it "amorously engaged" the plaintiffs heifer. Writing from the point of view of the interloper, David observed:
With nature could a beast commune That very lovely afternoon. The sun was bright. My head was clear. I was a most complacent steer. For purposes of decorum, I leave out the middle of the poem in which David describes the fateful encounter. His next lines are these:
For doing as I had to do Her master's mad and mine is too. In fact, each barnyard face I spy Regards me with a jaundiced eye. My life, in view of all this rage Has turned a rather tragic page But one thing does relieve the pain, You sure don't hear the cow complain. Well, David certainly did...