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For the Record

Inside the Winter 2024 issue of BC Law Magazine.

At professor Katz’s retirement, 2015.  Photograph by Christopher Soldt, BC MTS

In today’s fast-paced internet world, letters usually take the form of emails or social media posts. That was true late last year when, thanks in large part to Phillip Weiner ’80, word began circulating around BC Law that Professor Emeritus Sanford Katz was turning ninety on December 23. Greetings and anecdotes began pouring into BC Law Magazine’s inbox. Being constrained in print to January and June publication dates, the magazine turned to its 24/7 online self to publish a passel of community letters in time for Katz’s birthday. 

Katz enjoyed a nearly fifty-year career as a family law scholar and beloved teacher and colleague. The letters recalled how he generated “an atmosphere of warmth that carried down the hall,” that he “shaped the field of family law,” was a “towering intellect,” and “pillar of our community.”

There is a story behind the intentional assigning of freelancer Charles B. Fancher to write about Michael O’Donnell ’04 and his debut novel, Above the Fire. Fancher, a regular contributor to BC Law Magazine, is himself a debut novelist; not only that, his book, Red Clay, is forthcoming in Winter 2025 from the same publisher, Blackstone. Fancher’s multigenerational saga follows the interwoven lives of an enslaved Black family and their white owners as the Civil War ends and Reconstruction begins and, again, not unlike O’Donnell’s tale, draws upon personal family history.

Judy Rakowsky, another BC Law Magazine contributor, was invited by the Law Library’s book club last fall to speak about Jews in the Garden, her nonfiction saga of the years-long investigation that she and her cousin did into a Polish family member’s fate during WWII. The New York Times praised it a “a moving and sometimes shocking book that often reads like a thriller.”

For nearly a decade, the gifted Maura King Scully wrote BC Law Magazine’s “In the Field” section, chronicling the careers of more than eighty alumni. She was adept and insightful, and gifted readers with tales of colleagues’ trials and triumphs as they made their way through varied careers. Scully’s legacy rests in peace in the magazine’s archive.

We’d like to hear from you. Send your letters to BC Law Magazine, 885 Centre St., Newton, MA 02459-1163, or email to Please include your address, email, and phone number.