Robert W. Hamilton, '55: 1931-2018

Robert Hamilton

Robert Woodruff "Bob" Robert Woodruff (Bob) Hamilton, a longtime and widely-respected law professor, lawyer, and legal education writer, died at the age of 86 on January 13, 2018.

Bob Hamilton joined the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin in 1964. For the next forty years, he taught thousands of students the basics of contracts, business associations, and related subjects until retirement in 2004. A popular teacher, he also wrote numerous law textbooks. During the height of his career, some of his textbooks were in use at the vast majority of US law schools, evidence that supports that this intelligent man, gifted in his law ability, was also very good at making his field understandable to others. Bob was a stalwart friend to many, had a sense of humor that his wife Dagmar sometimes describes as impish, and was quietly devoted to his family.

He enjoyed socializing with colleagues, neighbors, friends, and in the earlier years of his teaching career, his students in large end-of-semester beer busts held around the swimming pool at his house in then-remote West Lake Hills. Bob was drawn to informed conversation typically social, economic, political, or technological discussions interested him the most and encouraged all voices to be heard. If you had an assertion and support for your argument that might be different from his, you had his attention. Bob was devoted to the law, but was not given to talking about his field outside the law school. He believed that law should craft the best results. The underdog should have a fair shake. Skepticism and inquiry were valued, perhaps more than specific knowledge.