Meet the Faculty: Walter O. Weyrauch

Published: March 15th, 2004

Category: News

View on the Profession

“Essentially I love the law, and that’s why I am still teaching at 84 years old. The law is a wonderful vehicle for examination of social issues, going to a depth that is unheard of.

“My interest is in informal autonomous legal systems. Family law is one of the most fundamental examples, as every family is governed by an internal legal system. All systems have some level of autonomy, which sometimes may run against the law of the state, but many times is supportive of the law of the state.”


J.S.D., Yale Law School; LL.M., Harvard Law School; LL.B., Georgetown University; Dr. Jur., University of Frankfurt (Germany); Musterschule, German Gymnasium (Frankfurt, Germany). He has worked with the Harvard University Dumbarton Oaks Library and Collections, a branch of Harvard University concerned with Byzantine culture, and was an assistant in instruction at Yale University Law School.

Weyrauch came from Germany in 1952 and joined the UF law faculty in 1957 as an associate professor of law. Today — 47 years later — he is a distinguished professor of law and Stephen C. O’Connell Chair at the UF College of Law, honorary professor of law at Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, Germany, and editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law. He has taught business organizations, comparative law, conflict of laws, contracts, family law, law and society, legal counseling and philosophy, multinational corporate enterprise and autonomous informal lawmaking.

He has been honored with the Golden Doctor Diploma from the University of Frankfurt Faculty of Law, the Florida Blue Key Distinguished Faculty Award, and the Legislative Professional Excellence Program Award. The University of Florida named him Distinguished Professor of Law and 1984 Teacher of the Year. He has been recognized as a Richard O. Huber Distinguished Lecturer at Boston College and selected for Who’s Who in America for more than 30 years.

Weyrauch has authored numerous books, most recently: Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions and Culture (2001) and Das Recht der Roma und Sinti: Ein Beispiel autonomer Rechtsschöpfung (2002), and co-authored the text for his family law course, Cases and Materials on Family Law: Legal Concepts and Changing Human Relationships. His 50-plus monographs, articles and review essays have been published in the Stanford Law Review, Florida Law Review, Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review and American Journal of Comparative Law, among others. He has recently lectured on Gypsy Law at Cornell University Law School and Duke University School of Law, as well as on the Law of Tristan da Cunha at the Spirit of Laws Conference at the University of California School of Law in Berkeley and at Columbia University School of Law.

What You May Not Know

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Weyrauch was 13 years old. Because of poor health, he was not able to become a soldier and spent his time studying. When the Americans occupied Frankfurt, though not yet admitted to the bar, he was drafted to the newly organized city police in Frankfurt. During the course of his work, he evaluated the content of a confiscated Gestapo card file, and the results were later published in both the United States and Germany.

Today, at 84, he is not only a distinguished professor of law, he is a discriminating music lover with eclectic tastes. He loves classical music such as Bach and Schubert, and also likes popular music and culture. “I like rap music,” Weyrauch said with a smile. “The movie ‘8 Mile’ was great.”


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