Remembering Sally Merry: Jessica Lopez-Espino

Sally was the kind of scholar that made collaborations, writing, teaching, and research seem easy and effortless. As my advisor at NYU, Sally’s weeks would consist of a domestic or international flights to present her scholarship, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, visits to consult at the UN in New York City, and yet still manage to find time to advise me on grants, research methods, and set up reading courses together where I could continue to discuss and talk with her for hours on end. When I had questions during fieldwork, Sally responded right away to my calls, often picking up on the first or second ring. Sally would always say she was happy to talk, happy to read, happy to find a way to make my graduate student experience as productive as possible. One of Sally’s legacies is the way she advocated for and promoted the work of other female scholars working in the field of law and society. She is dearly missed by all of her graduate students. Sally always supported students’ ideas and encouraged us to think expansively about the connections between law and other fields of social life.

It has been a joy to meet scholars in Australia, Spain, and across the U.S. in my travels who are friends and colleagues of Sally’s and have spoken warmly of the impact she’s had on their scholarship. She cared deeply about people experiencing gender violence across the globe and wrote about the importance of translating the hopes of human rights to the actual experience of justice for people in their local communities. Sally thought broadly about ideas about justice and modeled how professors can promote a fair, collegial, and generative learning experience for their students. Sally’s expansive thinking, generosity, and collegiality will be dearly missed. In our shared grief, my hope is that we seek to make her proud by following her example.



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