- Soia Mentschikoff
Soia Mentschikoff (
April 5, 1915- June 18, 1984) was an American lawyer, law professor, and legal scholar, best known for her work in the development and drafting of the Uniform Commercial Code. She was also the first woman to teach at Harvard Law School.
Mentschikoff was born in
Russiato American parents. Her parents returned to the United Statesprior to the Russian Revolution. At age 15, she began her undergraduate educationat Hunter Collegein New York City, where she majored in English and political science. After graduating from Hunter College, she enrolled at Columbia Law School, where she completed her J.D. in 1937.
Beginnings on Wall Street
After graduating law school, Mentschikoff worked at several
Wall Street law firms, specializing in both commercial lawand labor law(particularly arbitrationand mediation). She was one of the first women to become a partner at a large New York firm, having made partner at both Spence, Windels, Walser, Hotchkiss & Angell in 1944 and later at Spencer, Hotchkiss, Parker & Duryee from 1945-1949.
Work on the Uniform Commercial Code
While Mentschikoff was still a student at Columbia, she met with
Karl N. Llewellyn, who was a professor there at the time. In 1942, when Llewellyn was appointed by the American Law Instituteto be the Chief Reporter in drafting the Uniform Commercial Code, Mentschikoff was named to be his assistant. She worked as Llewellyn's research assistant until 1949 when she was named Associate Chief Reporter. In 1954, she became a consultant to the Permanent Editorial Board for the UCC.
Harvard and University of Chicago
Mentschikoff married Llewellyn in 1946. In 1947, she accepted a teaching position at
Harvard Law School, becoming the first woman to ever teach there. In 1951, both were offered teaching positions at the University of Chicago Law School. Due to the school's anti- nepotismrule, Llewellyn was named a "professor", while Mentschikoff was given the title "professorial lecturer". Mentschikoff held this position until Llewellyn's death in 1962, at which point she was made a full professor.
While at University of Chicago, Mentschikoff became involved in the development of international commercial law. In 1964, she represented the United States at a diplomatic conference at
the Hague, where she pushed for a uniform law governing international sales and arbitration.
University of Miami
In 1967, Mentschikoff began teaching one semester out of each year at
University of Miami School of Law. She finally left University of Chicago for good in 1974, when she was named dean of University of Miami School of Law, a position she would hold until her retirement in 1981. During her tenure as dean, she worked to limit enrollment, improve the school's law library, and hire better faculty. She died at Coral Gables, Floridaon June 18, 1984.
* [http://law.jrank.org/pages/8536/Mentschikoff-Soia.html Thompson-Gale legal encyclopedia entry, courtesy of Jrank]
* [http://ead.lib.uchicago.edu/view.xqy?id=ICU.SPCL.MENTSCHIKOFF&c=m Guide to Soia Mentschikoff's papers] from the
University of Chicagolibrary
* [http://library.law.miami.edu/soia.php Biography of Soia Mentschikoff] from the
University of Miami School of Law
* [http://library.law.columbia.edu/rise_of_women/education/sola_mentschikoff.html Picture of Mentschikoff from the Columbia University Law Library]
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