Robert Aronson, The Haverford School ’65, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family in Lake San Marcos, California, on June 4, 2021 from complications of familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder with which he battled valiantly and successfully for much of his adult life.
Rob entered Haverford in 8th grade. In the Upper School, he studied Latin and French and was particularly fond of Mr. Rugg’s Biology class. Rob was elected to The Cum Laude Society. An excellent student and athlete, Rob always attributed his later success in writing to his English Literature education from Haverford. He particularly respected and admired Mr. Jameson and Mr. Brownlow. Rob credited his success at soccer to Coach Harry Smith. Inspired by the fine teachers at Haverford, Rob always planned to become an educator himself and did.
At Haverford, Rob played Varsity Soccer, Squash and Lacrosse. In Soccer, he played starting Right Wing on the famous Undefeated 1964 Haverford Soccer Team. Rob also played Goalie for the Haverford Lacrosse Team.
Rob attended the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar. At UV, he again played starting Goalie for its Lacrosse team. He also lettered in soccer and was elected to the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll for academic and athletic excellence. He was Editor of University of Virginia Magazine.
Rob attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he graduated cum laude, received two writing awards and served as an Editor of the Law Review. He served as Law Clerk to Hon. James M. Carter, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, San Diego, California.
Rob joined the faculty at University of Washington (UW) Law School in Seattle, in 1975, where he taught for 37 years. Rob was an active member of the faculty with many accomplishments.
An avid athlete, Rob spent much of his time in retirement playing golf. He loved any day he could get out on the course with his cherished golf buddies.
At UW, Rob eventually became the Betts, Patterson & Mines Professor of Law and Associate Dean of the UW Law School. He was chosen three times by his students Outstanding Professor of the Year. Rob also served as Chair of the Faculty Senate of the University of Washington.
Rob Aronson was a consummate legal scholar. He authored 33 Books and Book Supplements and numerous articles, specializing in Professional Responsibility for Attorneys, Sports Law and the Law of Evidence. He gave hundreds of lectures on these subjects, lecturing to most of the attorneys and judges in the State of Washington at one time or another. He was regarded as one of the top experts in Attorney Professional Responsibility in the US.
Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.
Rob served as Advisor to the Public Interest Law Association, the Minority Law Students' Association; Black American Law Students' Association; National Moot Court, International Moot Court, Mock Trial, and Client Counseling Teams; Monroe Prison Counseling Program, and on the Board of Directors of Innocence Project Northwest. With the Innocence Project, Rob particularly appreciated and helped to pioneer the scientific use of DNA evidence to exonerate the unfairly accused.
Rob served as Hearing Tribunal Member for the Washington Human Rights Commission, Acting Director, UW Law Criminal Justice Program; Director, Appellate Advocacy Program, where he drafted and supervised the drafting of appellate briefs for the US Ninth Circuit, Washington Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rob was asked by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to assist in the case of the State of Washington against the tobacco industry. His expert opinion that lawyers helping to engineer misinformation to the public for decades about the addictive and carcinogenic aspects of tobacco had violated their ethical duty was described as "breaking the dam."
Appointed by the Governor of the State of Washington, Rob served for 15 years as Commissioner to the Commission on Uniform State Laws, a very low-profile, but important organization that has written over 100 of the Uniform State Laws of the states.
Rob was a member of the drafting committees for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) Code of Conduct, Uniform Rules of Evidence, Uniform Rules on Child Testimony, and Uniform Statutory Construction Act. He also served on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Criminal Law Education.
Rob was Reporter (i.e., primary author) for the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Association of Matrimonial Attorneys (AAML), which awarded him its President’s Award for his work.
Always very fond of sports, Rob served as Faculty Representative to the UW Athletic Department. Through this association, he eventually became president of the Pacific-10 (Pac-10) athletic league and Member of the Board of Directors of the NCAA. Rob counseled many amateur athletes about their career development.
Rob played squash, tennis, and soccer until late in life and continued to play golf and cycle for almost all of his life. He served as president of his local Golf Club near Seattle.
Rob is survived by his wife, Terri, and two daughters, Tammy and Jenny, as well as three sisters, brother Gary (Haverford ’72), and many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
More information about Rob Aronson’s Life and his photos may be found on: