Ritchie, John, 1904-1988
- Existence: 1904 - 1988
John Ritchie III was born March 19, 1904, at Norfolk, Virginia, the son of John and Edith (Kensett) Ritchie. He took bachelor of science (1925) and bachelor of laws (1927) degrees from the University of Virginia and received his J.S.D. from Yale in 1931.
Ritchie practiced law at Omaha, Nebraska, from 1927 to 1928 before beginning his academic career as an assistant professor of law at Furman University (1928-1930). He served as assistant professor of law at the University of Washington (1931-1936), professor of law at the University of Maryland (1936-1937) and at the University of Virginia (1937-1952, on leave for military service, 1942-1946). Ritchie left Virginia to become dean and Kirby Professor of Law at Washington University (1952-1953). He next served as dean and professor of law at the University of Wisconsin (1953-1957) and held the position of dean and John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law at the Northwestern University School of Law from 1957 to 1972. Ritchie held visiting professorships at a number of other universities.
Ritchie was active in several professional associations. He figured most prominently as president of the Association of American Law Schools (1964), national president of the Order of the Coif (1952-1955), national president of the Judge Advocates Association (1951-1952), director of the American Council on Education (1964-1967), director of the American Judicature Society (1963-1967), and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. With the American Bar Association Ritchie served on the Committee on Evaluation of Ethical Standards and was a member of the House of Delegates (1957-1971), a council member of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (1961-1964), a member of the Standing Committee on Lawyers and Legal Services in the Defense Establishment (1961-1964), and a member of the Standing Committee on Education About Communism and Its Contrast with Liberty Under Law (1962-1964).
Ritchie was known for his work in the field of estate law and was co-author of the popular Cases and Materials on Decedents' Estates and Trusts (Foundation Press, 1955, 1961, 1967, 1971, 1977). He also wrote The First Hundred Years, a Short History of the School of Law of the University of Virginia (University Press of Virginia, 1978) along with dozens of articles and reviews.
He served with distinction as staff judge advocate of the United States Army's 65th Infantry Division during World War II and was decorated with the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Ribbon, and the European Theater Ribbon with two battle stars. Ritchie retired from military service at the rank of colonel with the United States Army Reserve.
Ritchie married Sarah Dunlap Wallace of Greenville, South Carolina, on April 20, 1929. The couple had two children, John Jr. and Albert. Ritchie died at Charlottesville, Virginia, on March 4, 1988.