Lecture Honors Memory of Intellectual Property Law Professor J. Hunter Tart
Judge John Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Students, faculty and alums gathered on April 6 for a lecture organized to honor Professor J. Hunter Tart, whose tenure on the faculty was cut tragically short by a brief illness in early 2012.
Judge John Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, for whom Tart had clerked in 2006-07, gave the April 8 lecture, “The Changing Role of a District Court Judge.”
Despite a steep drop in the number of civil and criminal trials in district courts, federal judges face a host of new challenges, Koeltl said.
The volume of motions filed has skyrocketed as the number of trials has fallen, Koeltl said, thanks to digital technology that makes it possible to assemble massive amounts of data and documents.
While mandatory sentencing minimums give judges little discretion in sentencing, the abolition of parole burdens judges with new obligations to supervise defendants who have been released.
Such changes complicate the task of administering justice and ensuring that parties get a speedy resolution to their disputes, Koeltl said, adding that he was honored to give the remarks in Tart’s memory.
Tart taught Patents and Trademarks and Unfair Competition during his all-too-brief tenure on the faculty during 2011-12. He earned his J.D. at New York University School of Law, where he was executive editor of the New York University Law Review. After completing a clerkship with Koeltl, he then clerked for Judge Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
Ron Kern, a Class of 2012 alumnus and former president of the law school’s Intellectual Property Law Society, recounted that he met Tart soon after the new professor’s arrival hoping to glean advice for the organization.
Tart displayed his signature playfulness and good will during that meeting, Kern said, adding that he felt sheepish about showing up in an Eagles t-shirt after finding himself face to face with a professionally attired professor.
Quickly putting Kern at ease, Tart drily explained that he was “aware of the reputation of Eagles fans” and immediately volunteered to mentor the student group.
Tart’s skills as a coach for Kern and alumna Colleen Swim enabled the two to prevail in the 2012 Southern Regional Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Intellectual Property Law Competition, winning the trophy, said Kern who is now an associate at Woodcock Washburn LLP.
Hillaria Goodgame, a 2L, said she received tremendous support, encouragement and wisdom from Tart, who was her faculty advisor during her 1L year.
“He was genuinely nice and he was brilliant,” Goodgame said. “It’s unfortunate that other students won’t get to know how brilliant he was.”