On October 24, 2020, a young lawyer named Geoffrey Wright passed away at 31 from a sudden cardiac event. Few on this blog would know Geoff, but his loss is being felt by our entire law school community. He was one of my former students in Torts and worked as one of my editors on an article with the George Washington University Law Review. He was a brilliant lawyer with unlimited potential. He was also a deeply caring and decent person. His loss is a terrible tragedy for his family, our school, and the legal profession.
Geoff was an incredible law student who stood out in the class for his insatiable interest in the law and penetrating legal analysis. He had an incredible eye for detail and a quiet patience that made him an ideal lawyer. He secured one of the most sought after clerkships in the country on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit with the Honorable Deborah Cook. He went on to work with state Solicitor General’s office and fought for the public interest both as public and private counsel.
We both shared a love for backpacking and hiking. He would refer to his trips into the outdoors as his “vision quests.” He lived his life as boldly and brightly as he practiced law. After he took the bar, Geoff did not do the usual tour of Europe or beach resort. In 2015, he sailed to the San Blas Islands.
Geoff was everything we want in our students: a brilliant lawyer who was driven to do good by others and to leave a legacy of improving the world in which in lived. There is a deep connection that academics have with our students; an intimacy that develops from the process of intellectual discovery and growth. For us, our students seem immortal and give us a sense of immorality by extension. They are forever young and inquisitive and enduring. To have someone like Geoff snatched from us at such a young age is incomprehensible and grotesque. That is why it is hard to find meaning or solace at times like this.
We are so grateful to the Wright family for sharing Geoff with this school and his profession. Last night, I drank a toast my former student and thought of Geoff just sailing into the vast and limitless ocean through the San Blas islands. That is how he should remain with the wind to his back, his hand on tiller, and his face to the horizon.
Farewell Geoffrey Wright.