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January 09, 2012


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Calvin Massey

Al, you are correct, I had Hans Snit for Civil Procedure in my first semester of law school. He was an imposing presence and a skilled questioner. He used to ride his bicycle to and from school -- it was a very Dutch bike, and he had not lost the Dutch enthusiasm for pedal travel. He drew a distinction in that term between a court's jurisdiction and its competence. One of my classmates grumbles -- to this day -- that in nearly 40 years of law practice he has never encountered the distinction. Be that as it may be, it stuck with me (and my classmate) so Professor Smit continues to engage the mind of his students, many years later.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Alfred Brophy

Yes--the distinction between jurisdiction and competence. I'd forgotten about that. And the bike, too. But now they've both come back to me. I remember eating at V&Ts, the pizza place down Amsterdam Avenue a couple of blocks from the law school with him and a bunch of students from our class. Good times!

David Case

I remember the jaunts to V&T for pizza and beer with Hans and how he was willing to buy the beer for you only as long as it was Heineken given his view that the only worthy beer was Dutch made. I enjoyed his classes and I enjoyed the out of class discussions with him. I also enjoyed the free Heineken and whenever I drink it today (I never had prior to Hans buying it for me) I always think of him as I forever will. RIP.

Joe Liu

Al, The water polo vignette does indeed resonate. His class is indelibly imprinted in my mind because it was by far the most traditionally socratic class I took at Columbia. I also remember his house on Riverside Drive, as he held a reception there during our first year - pretty amazing.

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