Former DU law professor Peláez passes away

Courtesy of the Office of Marketing and CommunicationsPeláez (second from left) pictured holding grandson Rocco, with his children (from left) Mara, John and Linda. A longtime law professor, Peláez died Nov. 27 at age 81. Peláez and his late wife, Bridget, are the namesakes of the Legal Writing Center.

Courtesy of the Office of Marketing and Communications
Peláez (second from left) pictured holding grandson Rocco, with his children (from left) Mara, John and Linda. A longtime law professor, Peláez died Nov. 27 at age 81. Peláez and his late wife, Bridget, are the namesakes of the Legal Writing Center.

Hallie Lauer | Staff Writer

A longtime Duquesne law professor recently passed away.

On Nov. 27 Alfred S. Peláez died at age 81. He was a professor in Duquesne’s Law School for over 50 years.

At Duquesne, Peláez taught classes in contract law, the federal court system and admiralty, a branch of law concerning legal issues involving, in part, ocean trade and transportation. He also taught Chinese Law and the Chinese Legal System.

Peláez received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957 and his law doctorate degree also from the University of Pittsburgh in 1960. In 1966, he completed his Masters of Law degree at Yale University — in that same year, he began teaching at Duquesne.

According to Bruce Ledewitz, Peláez was responsible for creating and running the China University Summer Legal Study Program, which is an opportunity for Duquesne law students to travel to five different cities in China and study law.

“[We] should remind people he wasn’t just a warm and loving professor, he wasn’t just a supportive colleague — he was a great legal thinker and his loss is a great loss to the school and it can never really be made up,” Ledewitz said.

Not only was Peláez a legal thinker, but also a legal writer. He co-authored “Moore’s Federal Practice Treatise,” which is a legal text that lawyers often consult according to Ledewitz. Peláez was an expert on Admiralty Practice and offered his expertise in writing that book.

According to Ledewitz, Peláez’s children said that no matter where they went with him, they would always run into a former student who would recognize him and have warm stories to share.

Duquesne President Ken Gormley — who was Peláez’s colleague when he was law school dean — said Peláez was well-liked.

“When I became dean and went around the country meeting alumni, [Peláez] was always someone they asked about,” Gormley said. “It got to the point where I would pull out my cell phone [and] dial his home number just so they could speak with him.”

According to Gormley, Peláez was “an institution” at Duquesne, and was the embodiment of what Duquesne stands for by always putting his students first.

When alumni donated money to create the new Legal Writing Center in 2010 in his honor, Peláez insisted that his wife Bridget’s name go before his.

“Bridget was the love of his life,” Gormley said. “He wanted her name first because she was the most important person in his life.”

Gormley lauded Peláez’s character.

“If we could have a world full of Al Peláez’s we would be in great shape,” Gormley said.

Peláez retired from his job at Duquesne in 2014.

On Saturday, Jan. 7 there will be a memorial service held at Duquesne’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

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