Louis H. Pollak

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Louis H. Pollak
Louis Pollak.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
In office
July 12, 1978 – January 1, 1991
Nominated by Jimmy Carter
Preceded by A. Leon Higginbotham
Succeeded by Eduardo C. Robreno
Dean of Yale Law School
In office
Preceded by Eugene Rostow
Succeeded by Abraham Goldstein
Personal details
Born Louis Heilprin Pollak
(1922-12-07)December 7, 1922
New York, New York
Died May 8, 2012(2012-05-08) (aged 89)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s) Katherine Weiss Pollak (m. 1952)
Alma mater Harvard College
Yale Law School

Louis Heilprin Pollak (December 7, 1922 – May 8, 2012) was a district judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.[1] He served on the faculty of Yale Law School and was dean from 1975 to 1980.

District Judge[edit]

Pollak was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by President Jimmy Carter on June 7, 1978. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 10, and began serving on July 12, 1978, occupying the seat vacated by Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.

Judge Pollak assumed senior status in 1991, and continued as an active member of the court. In addition to his district court duties, Pollak sat by designation regularly with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and was often invited to sit by designation with the Ninth Circuit.

A number of Pollak's former law clerks have gone on to clerk on the Supreme Court of the United States. They have worked for Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist as well as Justices Brennan, Blackmun, Powell, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Ginsburg and Breyer.


Judge Pollak received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1943 and his LL.B. from the Yale Law School in 1948, where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Harvard, Pollak entered the United States Army in 1943, during World War II. The war ended before he would be deployed outside of the United States.

Pollak served as a law clerk to Justice Wiley Rutledge of the United States Supreme Court following graduation from law school. After completing his clerkship, from 1949 to 1951, Pollak worked at the law firm now known as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He then served in the United States Department of State as special assistant to Ambassador-at-large Philip C. Jessup until 1953. Thereafter, Pollak worked as assistant counsel for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

In 1955, Pollak joined the faculty of the Yale Law School, where he would remain until 1974. He served as dean from 1965 to 1970. In 1974, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, becoming dean the following year. In 1978, he left the University when he was appointed to the bench. Until his death, Pollak remained an adjunct member of the Penn Law faculty and taught there regularly.

Beginning in 1950, Pollak provided assistance to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He worked actively on Brown v. Board of Education. Because he was then working for the State Department, he was not listed on the briefs in the Supreme Court.[2]

Pollak's father, Walter Pollak, was also a well-known lawyer. He is now remembered especially for his work in major civil rights cases, including Gitlow v. New York and representation of the Scottsboro Boys.

From 1952, Pollak was married to Katherine Weiss Pollak, the daughter of Louis S. Weiss, a founding partner of the Paul, Weiss law firm. They had five daughters and eight grandchildren.

Pollak died May 8, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Eugene V. Rostow
Dean of Yale Law School
1965 – 1970
Succeeded by
Abraham Samuel Goldstein
Legal offices
Preceded by
A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Eduardo C. Robreno