Tributes to Professor Tony Baldwin

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Professory Tony Baldwin was featured in the Fall 2017 Mercer Lawyer. Many alumni provided tributes to Professor Baldwin as he enters a phased retirement. Read the full tributes and submit your below.

If I remember correctly, I was in the first Labor Law class he taught at Mercer. It was a small class, and I leaned towards the management side. I got through Labor I and Labor II without a clue as to which way he leaned. Very frustrating, as I and others made several efforts to find out — which efforts were gently, but firmly, rebuffed.

In those days, it was not possible to get on the internet and find his private arbitration awards or decisions with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. His studied neutrality in class was influential in helping me see, and appreciating, the opposing viewpoints.

Several years after I graduated, Professor Baldwin took over as faculty advisor for the Wagner Moot Court Competition. I would volunteer to act as a judge in a practice round session each year, and I got to see how much he cares for the students and his continued insight into the evolving issues of labor and employment law.

— Douglas H. Duerr ('89)

I was influenced profoundly by the energy and the passion and the love Professor Baldwin had for labor law. Not to take anything away from other professors, but he was the first real professor in my entire career where I felt I had a real relationship with someone and felt they were treating me like an intellectual equal. It was such a wonderful way of getting an education. I'd never had a dialogue-type relationship before with a professor.

He was the reason I got into labor and I owe Professor Baldwin a tremendous debt of gratitude. I mean this sincerely: I feel like I literally have not worked a day in my life. He has been a significant fixture in my life and a strong influence. I consider him a friend to this day.

— Marty N. Martenson ('89)

It is difficult to express in mere words the impact that Professor Baldwin has had in my professional development. His work with the admission's office and urging greater diversity among the student body was the primary catalyst to how I arrived at Mercer. He saw things in potential law students that went far beyond traditional indicators and found depth and value from the perspective of the individual's life experience juxtaposed to their academic promise.  

Since my time at Mercer, I have updated Professor Baldwin as I have reached certain milestones in my professional career. I wanted him to know that I have not forgotten, and never will forget, what he has done for me and countless others. My professional triumphs in the last 20 years are validation of his ability to recognize promise. Who knew where I would be today, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge; Professor Baldwin knew.  Now, he may not have known, specifically, the professional landing place, but he knew of the promise. I am proud to be part of Professor Baldwin's legacy to Mercer and to the legal community at-large.   

Nothing was more gratifying than to have Professor Baldwin attend my formal swearing-in ceremony in Los Angeles this year. In fact, I received the call from the Governor's office of my appointment on his birthday. When he arrived at the ceremony, to his surprise, he, along with my wife and mother, did the honor of enrobing me. He has been my teacher, mentor, and now friend. He will be missed but never forgotten. I congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement. 

— J. Christopher Smith ('96)

Tony was the best professor, ever. I took all the classes I could with Tony, and my team was the first he submitted to the Wagner Moot Court competition, at Fordham Law School.

Tony was so evenhanded in class. As you got to know him, you saw where he personally leans, but he taught that we all have a purpose here. Laborers and management all have the same goal, to make the workplace the best it can be. You would come to find out later, he has a union bent, but for three years we were trying to figure him out.

It was wonderful, the way he used the Socratic method, too. He roamed around the class, asking questions. He obviously was excited about what he was teaching, so the people in his class were excited, too. It never felt like work.

There were professors who talked to us like students, but Tony spoke to us as if we were professionals. He made us feel we were all out to accomplish something together.

— Jennifer “Jen” Friedman FitzGerald ('97)

When I think of Professor Baldwin I am reminded of the faith and confidence he has in the students' ability to succeed in school and to have productive and rewarding careers after graduation. He was tough on us but he was also our biggest cheerleader. He cared enough to stay in touch over the years, to keep up with our careers and accomplishments, and to learn about our growing families.

When you have a professor who cares about your professional and individual development as much as Professor Baldwin has done for countless students over his remarkable career, you feel supported, empowered, and accountable for becoming the very best version of yourself. I know he will be sorely missed!!

— Maria Mateo Odom ('97)

I met Professor Baldwin at the beginning of my 1L year when I tagged along to a BLSA meet-and-greet. Nobody would be surprised to know that he introduced himself to every person in the room. I was still feeling out this business of law school and banking on anonymity, but after a brief hello and chat, Professor Baldwin never forgot my name. From then on, I'd hear that booming voice go, 'Miss Min, how are you doing today?' What I came to learn is that he was genuinely interested in my answer.

I didn't take a class with Professor Baldwin for quite some time, but he was always available for advice, a joke or story, typically about growing up or working as a labor lawyer in New York. He has a way of speaking that is so animated and engaging. Even today, I can picture him leaning in with lots of gesturing.

I recently celebrated my 14th wedding anniversary and while looking through some photos I came across one of my favorite images. It sums up the kind of person Professor Baldwin is perfectly: My new husband and I are the forefront smiling and about 25 feet behind us, Professor Baldwin is snapping away with his big camera and a huge smile on his face.  It reminds me of the effort he made to get to know me as a 1L, to put me in touch with attorneys when I was looking for a job as a 3L, and to make the trek to my wedding two years after I graduated.

— Connie Min ('01)

Prof. Baldwin is one of the key reasons that I remained at Mercer Law School. I suffered some set backs as a 1L student and I was prepared to walk away, after being told that maybe the law just wasn't my thing. Prof. Baldwin took me to the side and gave me such encouragement throughout my matriculation at Mercer Law School. He was so much more than just a professor who terrified me in class and commanded respect from all of his students. I viewed him as my life line. He saw something in me, that at the time, I could not see in myself.

After getting over the fear that I had of him as my professor, I got to appreciate him as the BLSA Advisor. Prof. Baldwin became my mentor and a very present father figure that I knew I could count on to always tell me the truth, whether I wanted to hear it or not. I learned a great deal of patience in working with Prof. Baldwin because I knew a “quick phone call” would easily last an hour. No other professor at the law school has had a greater impact on me than Prof. Baldwin and I will be forever grateful for the relationship that we have shared.

— Tomieka R. Daniel ('02)

Professor Baldwin was one of my favorite professors. He always expected the best of his students. What set him apart was his ability to take less-than-the-best work and turn it around in class to relevant instruction. I don't recall him ever dismissing a student for being unprepared. He'd make an example, yes, but he never dismissed the student. His ability to take a smart-aleck remark and turn it into a teaching moment also set him apart.

My Moot Court experience with him was empowering. He'd bring up flaws in presentation and he was never less than compassionate. As far as arguments went, he would provide us with challenging but engaging questions so we could learn to speak extemporaneously with ease. And it goes without saying that he is an expert in what he teaches.

— Caitlin Miller ('10)

Submit your personal tribute to Professor Baldwin below or email alumni@law.mercer.edu.

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