Remembering Professor David D. Caron

David Caron

Professor Emeritus David Caron ’83, a prominent international law expert and Berkeley Law professor for 26 years, died in London on February 20 at the age of 65.

A leading scholar, judge, and arbitrator, Caron taught at Berkeley Law from 1987 to 2013, gaining a reputation as a warm and generous peer and teacher. Colleagues recalled him as an international law “superstar,” an innovator, a mentor, and a nurturing father.

Caron became dean at Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College in London in 2013. He continued there as a professor after leaving the deanship in 2016 to assume an appointment as a judge at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, where he also sat as an ad hoc judge‎ at the International Court of Justice.

Caron held numerous high-level roles in international law and dispute resolution. He served as an arbitrator, lead counsel, and expert in private and public proceedings, including commercial arbitration administered by the International Chamber of Commerce. Caron was also a member of the UN Compensation Commission for claims arising out of the 1990 Gulf War.

A prolific scholar, Caron sat on the editorial board for the American Journal of International Law and was co-editor-in-chief of the World Arbitration and Mediation Review and the Social Science Research Network International Environmental Law Ejournal.

He was president of the American Society of International Law and the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, and also chaired the International Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools.

At Berkeley Law, Caron taught public international law, resolution of private international disputes, ocean law and policy, and an advanced international law writing workshop. He served as co-director of the school’s Miller Institute on Global Challenges and the Law, as well as co-director of the Law of the Sea Institute, an internationally recognized forum for ocean law scholarship and analysis.

In 2000, Caron received the first Stefan A. Riesenfeld Award, which honors the longtime Berkeley Law professor and recognizes outstanding contributions to international law.

For the full article by Andrew Cohen, see here.

For additional stories about Professor Caron, see here.


Please share your thoughts, memories, and tributes below. We encourage you to include your year of graduation and/or Berkeley Law affiliation, for identification purposes only.

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  • Elegance and grace are hard things for any person to sustain over a lifetime, especially a life that is rich with work and challenges. To be gracious and at ease in all situations, direct but not disrespectful, prepared but not pre-emptive, persistent but not pushy, takes enormous, quiet effort. These are the qualities that I think of, when I think of David Caron. David’s casual brilliance, his warm wry sense of humor, his seemingly limitless accessibility and curiosity, appeared effortless. But it took conscious effort, self-discipline, genuine concern for others, and profound introspection to achieve the state of grace that David wore so lightly.

    David was my mentor, friend, and colleague for the past thirty 30 years. I met him when I was a new law student at Berkeley and he was the adviser to the Jessup International Law Moot Court team. Somehow I had been selected for the team without having taken a course in International Law. David quickly realized that my team-mates and the school deserved better. Rather than risk Berkeley’s reputation, he quietly undertook a campaign of serious tutoring and mentoring. He invited my wife Becky and me over to dinner for lively, substantive conversations; he graciously suggested I sit in on his class; he recommended interesting books; and — slowly, almost imperceptibly — he sparked my lifelong interest in international law. With his help, I received an offer to clerk at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in the Hague, as well as work with the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice. And I was not unique. The world of international law is populated with people just like me, who credit David with their love of international law and their opportunities to resolve international disputes. The staggering number of careers that he launched would be impossible for most mortals, but David achieved this through calm efficiency. He understood the art of the well-placed phone call, or anticipating the right moment. In short, he was elegant.

    Since his passing, I have read many beautiful tributes to his memory. Most include references to the extraordinary number of positions he held, disputes he resolved, students he taught, articles he wrote, and other achievements. In fact, his achievements are so vast that, as I read these tributes, I marveled mostly about how many things were still left out, and how many things I had not even known about. He participated in some capacity in nearly every major international arbitral tribunal of his time, led several of the most important academic and non-profit institutions in his field, and wrote with insight and style about the most compelling issues of his day. But this is all well-documented. What I’d like to express are David’s qualities that don’t appear on his CV.

    There was nothing better than making David laugh. Perhaps it was because it was so unexpected from this man with the calm and powerful bearing of an esteemed jurist, distinguished academic, and retired Coast Guard officer. David always had an easy chuckle, and it would appear in all sorts of situations — at a small joke, or when things turned tense or absurd, or sometimes when he amused himself with a comment. David sent me a note from London after he and Susan adopted their new Thanksgiving tradition of having dinner at an Indian restaurant with friends which he described as “a slight variation on the classic tale.” I could almost hear him chuckle as he wrote it. But David’s laugh was different. If you could surprise him with something funny or tap into that wry, subversive side of him, it was pure gold. The laugh started down in his belly and just erupted in a baritone guffaw that would roll on from there. Despite being a serious academic, he never lost his appreciation for pure emotion. He loved good gossip. Fortunately for David, the international legal community has attracted an interesting assortment of figures, and David appreciated them all — sometimes the quirkiest ones the most. After one panelist at a conference we attended held the room hostage for what seemed like hours as he gave an interminably long answer to a question, David turned to me with a kind expression and said only — “succinctly put.” We later worked on a book together about the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal for the ASIL, and while helping me with the history, David shared some of his dead-on imitations of the various judges. What I took from that was that David did not like gossip, he liked people in all of their dimensions and took time to really study and know them. He found humor and humanity in everyone. And of all the people he knew and loved, he loved Susan and his children most of all — without pretense or reservation.

    Like many of those blessed to know David, I now have a lifetime of ideas, insights, and interests that he taught me. As Maya Angelou observed, though, we tend to forget most of what someone said, and remember instead how they made us feel. That is truly what I will remember most about David. He had the gift of making others feel their contributions were worthwhile and that there was no place he would rather be than with them. He was, indeed, a man in full — wise, caring, and humble. In a word: elegant.

    Ambassador Jeff Bleich ’89

  • It is with deep gratitude, respect, fondness, friendship, and sadness that I write this tribute to David Caron, beloved law professor, scholar, writer, thinker, leader, mentor, and friend. David was a kind, warm, and wonderful person. A man of great depth and seriousness, but also joy and humor. His laugh was infectious. He lit up a room, enjoyed good conversation, and made everyone feel included. He had a big heart. He loved to talk about Susan and his children … and had such a sincere way of making students and colleagues part of his larger professional family. I had the good fortune to meet and learn from David as a talented and inspiring young law professor at Berkeley. But eventually I also came to know him as a caring mentor and dear friend. As busy as he was, he always made time for students and friends. He was relentlessly positive and encouraging. He gave terrific advice. He made introductions, connected new friends to old ones, provided recommendations, shared opportunities, and helped so many of us get our start—and continue to advance—in the dynamic world of international law. He had the intellect, skills, judgment, and ability to succeed at the highest levels of the profession – as a scholar, professor, leader, arbitrator, and judge – and yet it was his character, compassion, and humor that made him so special. I miss him dearly and always will. My heart goes out to Susan and his children, and also to the other family, friends, students, mentees, and colleagues who admired and respected him, not just for all the extraordinary things he did and accomplished, but more importantly for who he was as a person. His great legacy will live on and continue to inspire us. Rest in peace, David.

  • Professor David Caron taught me to believe. It’s easy to take law and security for granted. And sometimes our institutions and processes become so developed and so complex that we forgot how we got there or why. As a refugee of war all things law were largely a mystery to me, especially international law. Law had failed my country, law had failed my father and uncle who were brutally tortured and disappeared along with many more of my countrymen. I was often bemused by how nations not at war would twist and turn to legitimize their entitlement to peace while others lived in the hell of war. I knew the answers lay in law, but given the tragedy my own eyes had witnessed, I didn’t know how that could be.

    And then I met Professor David Caron. “Uti possidetis.” He pronounced the phrase carefully and with purpose. The international law principle that law and property goes to the possessor at the end of conflict, and the borders fall along those same possessive lines. It hit my ears the way it hit my heart. It sounded about right, the “strong” survive and take what they want. It made me sick. But Professor Caron wasn’t finished. Uti possidetis only has force as juxtaposed against another international principle. “Jus cogens.” Spoken with weight and certainty, this phrase lingered. The international law principle that there are fundamental overriding principles of international law – no genocide, no racial discrimination, no torture, among others – that every human is entitled to irrespective of where the birth lottery landed them geographically. Professor Caron explained that law and security mandated a respect for rules like uti possidetis only so long as jus cogens were respected. And he believed this. You could feel that he believed. You could see that he believed this.

    I learned from Professor Caron that there are those who go out into this world to possess, to destroy and to conquer. To obtain all that uti possidetis promises. This is what I had witnessed in my life and to which I assign many losses. But he also taught that there are those, like him (and hopefully I can now be counted with him), with a commitment to jus cogens, to core human rights that balance out and even address injustices. I watched Professor Caron for years take those demanding principles of justice and equity that he taught me and thousands of others at Berkeley Law and bring them to bear in the real world. And I learned that while those who start wars, those who disappear and separate our families, are many in number, that those, like Professor Caron, who take seriously the responsibility to work the world toward fairness and equity, are stronger and greater. He was the best of those scholars, and he shared his hope and vision with those of us lucky enough to cross his path.

    In the months since his passing, I think often about Professor Caron and about his humane manner of implementing the tremendous power he held throughout the years. His teaching and living of uti possidetis governed by jus cogens has since become the crux of my own understanding. An understanding that holds me accountable and gives me hope.

    Professor Caron was tremendous. I remember his singing to our class. I remember his gregarious laugh. I remember his generosity with his time and his mentorship over the years. And as I mourn the loss of this fundamentally good person, I cherish that it was he who taught me to believe in the best of humanity and in the law, even in the aftermath, or in the thick, of war.

  • As a first year student at Boalt in 1980, I was fortunate that David Caron became one of my closest classmates, a steady rock in my law school experience. At 28, he was among the “elders” of our class, with service in the Coast Guard and a Fulbright scholarship behind him. Like many in the small section to which we were assigned, I gravitated to David because of his kindness and humility, his great sense of humor, and his fun-loving spirit. But I also sensed in him the calm confidence of someone with wisdom about the larger world, and a quality that was unspoken but widely recognized: innate leadership. I was always happy to be on the bus if David was driving.

    Even then, it was clear that David was destined for great things. In the study group we formed, most of us brought outlines and stressed over the volumes of information we needed to memorize. David brought questions instead, and pondered them carefully. “Doesn’t this case illustrate the principle that…” he would ask, like the natural teacher he was, before pulling essential meanings from the minutia in which I was usually mired. For David, it was the big picture that mattered, and his ability to find it – meticulously, with clarity – distinguished him quickly. Whatever the issue, we knew David had it covered.

    Eventually, David and I would both find our way to Ecology Law Quarterly, first as cite-checkers, then as associate editors, then as members of the editorial board. During third year, David served as editor-in-chief and I served as an executive editor. The ELQ office was tiny and filled with shabby furniture, but it was a beloved hang out where we pored over leading environmental articles of the day and welcomed the journal’s first computer. The prior board had accepted an article David authored proposing a legal framework for transnational oil spills. As the assigned editor, I spent many hours with him hunkered down at the old desks. We haggled endlessly about word choice, paragraph placement, and citation form. As usual, David took the long view and struggled over substance. As usual, I engaged the small stuff and battled over punctuation. It would have tested any relationship.

    Thankfully, David was David. After weeks of frustrating debate over the tiniest details, I came down with a bad cold that kept me home in bed on my birthday. I was sneezing under blankets when the doorbell rang. David stood on the porch with the ELQ board by his side, a birthday cake in hand. The cake was decorated with a sea green ocean, a black icing oil spill, and a miniature oil derrick.

    “It’s the dreaded Caron cake!” David announced as everyone came inside for my impromptu birthday party. It was an event with the classic David touches: generosity, thoughtfulness, humor, and warmth. It melted any chill between us and reassured us both that our friendship survived intact. And it turned a dreary day into a celebration.

    David showed his grace again when several of us decided that ELQ needed to host a prom. Just weeks before graduation, what began as a silly idea became an obsession. We reserved the ballroom at I-House and put out publicity. We descended on thrift stores for our dresses and frilly shirts. We made tissue paper flowers and tickets and set up a sales booth in the main hallway. Being sensible, David was at first concerned that we had lost our minds. But he soon gave his blessing and embraced our plan. At the first (and as far as I know, the only) ELQ Prom, several hundred Boalt students gathered in their finest to dance the night away. From the stage at midnight, David closed the evening exuberantly as we all stood sweaty and tired on the dance floor. His beaming image and the joy of it all stay with me to this day.

    Ultimately, David’s article would garner one of two student writing awards given to members of our graduating class. I was proud of him then for his vision and perseverance, and only grew more proud over the years as he continued to apply his big-picture thinking and clear-eyed courage to a multitude of other global problems. Today, it both delights me and brings a lump to my throat that the very first article in his long list of distinguished publications is Liability for Transnational Pollution Arising from Offshore Oil Development: A Methodological Approach, 10 Ecology LQ 641 (1983).

    On my bookshelf in Anchorage is a volume of The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, a gift from David when we graduated. Inside the front flap is a message he wrote in May 1983:

    “Dear Barb, Thank you for your help. Thank you much more for being who you are. Love, David”

    My heart still swells.

    I pull the book down often these days. On the cover is Alaska’s Mount Denali, the highest peak on the continent. Its summit commands vistas of the surrounding landscape that extend for hundreds of miles. I like to imagine that David is on that mountain now, enjoying the widest perspective. And I am deep in the tundra below, admiring him as always.

  • I apologize in advance for these random and nearly inexpressibly fond memories as my inadequate tribute to my friend, David Caron. We met in law school, but our friendship had much more to do with David’s great good humor and his open, willing heart.

    Space Invaders King – David handled the stress of our first months of law school by retreating to a tiny room in the Boalt basement where some empathic person had installed an old school arcade game, Space Invaders. David had a strategy (it seemed he always had a strategy) to defeat the hordes of interplanetary monsters. His dedicated thoughtful approach helped him post the high scores among the many procrastinating students who relied on Space Invaders success to bring relief from their First Year Angst. David generously shared with me his approach to success, but I quickly realized that an admixture of talent and mojo were required to prevail. David had that secret sauce. As I am sure that many others will attest, his talents and generosity to share what he knew extended well beyond Space Invaders.

    David as dog sitter – I owned the law school therapy dog, the mighty and nearly-as-famous-as-David, Tyrone. Tyrone would follow me to school and into class, but we’d occasionally become separated because Tyrone find his way to the Environmental Law Quarterly offices where Editor-in-Chief David and the ELQ staff would dress him up, feed and play with him. In the early evening, after they were done with Tyrone, David would give me a call to say that he’d let my dog hitch a ride with him to the Highway 13 off ramp a mile or so from my house. He’d drop him off and Tyrone would jog home from there after telling David thanks, and exchanging a fist bump. They definitely had an understanding.

    His career as a gossip columnist – I suppose David wouldn’t mind it if I now revealed his identity as the author of the Abel Cain, a highly irreverent tell-all column for the irregularly published, occasionally accurate, and pretty much unedited law student newspaper humbly entitled “The Truth.” I wonder whether some of the Boalt faculty would have welcomed him so warmly as one of their own had they known. I’m pretty sure this work for The Truth was omitted from his CV.

    The time I figured out that he was definitely smarter (and more inspired) than the average Bear – David and a few of our first year friends formed the study group to tackle the initial round of exams. When we met to share and discuss our notes from our classes, couple of our friends produced typewritten notes, others, like me, shared barely legible hand-scribbled jottings on stapled-together legal pads. David taped multiple sheets of paper together to form an oversize document, elaborately folded, elegantly calligraphed and illustrated with flow charts. Literally, a beautifully illustrated road map of the course.

    Credit goes to David for our friendship – During law school and in the years after, David and I followed different paths, mine ultimately leading away from the law and David’s taking him to the heights of the profession. Our friendship nevertheless endured. We found common ground sharing and supporting each other through life’s big and small moments. Despite our vastly different capabilities when it came to the law and its undeniable centrality to his life, David found time to be my friend. He managed to balance his brilliance, focus and ambition with a kindness, humor and generosity of spirit that made him an irresistible and irreplaceable person in my life. Gone way too soon, he has left a hole in my heart.

  • Rarely does the world experience someone who so completely embodies the ideals of public service, moral character, and personal generosity as David Caron. The outpouring of grief and fond memories that followed David’s untimely passing reinforced just how remarkable David was. That one human being could serve as the singular hero and mentor for so many others is astonishing. He made so many feel special, and by his influence, I think he made them special. One felt compelled to live up to his very high standards—as a scholar and a person—when working with David.

    At a personal level, I can trace virtually every important opportunity I’ve had in international law to something David did or said on my behalf. From encouraging me to work at the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund to inviting me to teach at Berkeley Law (and reminding me to discuss it first with my wife), he always seemed to have my best interests at heart, as he did for countless others. David also had a gift for bringing people together, convening events at the Law School, serving as the leader of many organizations, and sharing his home with students, colleagues and friends.

    To teach alongside David is one of the great honors of my professional career, and I will forever treasure that experience. I hope it provides some comfort to Susan, Marina and Peter to know that the inspiration David provided lives on in the many people whose lives he touched.

  • Our paths first crossed because our last names began with “C”. It was our first year of law school at Boalt (so long ago, even the name is retired!) and students were assigned class schedules based (somewhat) alphabetically. I remember learning that he had served in the Coast Guard and thinking, he’s a bit more of a grown up than some of us who had graduated college only months before. He was very focused, very directed toward his goals. We served together on the Ecology Law Quarterly, which grew in respectability under his able leadership, and also on the student newspaper, which we modestly named, “The Truth.”

    Dave was one of those rare people who was equally gifted in both intellect and the ability to connect with people. He was always charming, friendly and approachable while stealthily becoming a legal scholar superstar.

    He lent that wonderful baritone to the student barbershop quartet, at one point performing “Old Man Prosser” (a tribute to one of our law professors, sung to the tune of Old Man River, natch) at the Boalt talent show. Most of all when I think of Dave, I see him laughing that deep, wonderful laugh, eyes crinkled in delight.

    In the intervening decades since law school I saw him only occasionally, admiring his many accomplishments. I am particularly grateful that he and Susan were our guests last summer, when I assembled a small group of friends from the Class of ’83 to celebrate one of Dave’s rare visits back to Berkeley. We failed to convince Dave to belt out a verse of Old Man Prosser, but we did enjoy many of those deep, joyful, wonderful laughs. Thank you for each and every one of them, my friend.

  • I went to Boalt straight out of college. When it was time to sign up for classes, I asked for no class before 10 am. As a result, my small section had a lot of older (older than I was, not old!) students, many of whom had kids they had to take to school or other real world obligations. One of the students in my small section was David Caron, who was probably 7 or 10 years older than me at the time. David was immediately and obviously the smartest student in the section. I knew this not because David showed off; he didn’t. All you had to do was talk to him about a case and you just knew. He was also the calmest student of all of us the first year. Nothing phased him and he tried to pass his calm on to the rest of us. I think David had a lot to do with our small section being the most chill and least competitive of any of the small sections in 1980-81.

    I also worked with David on The Truth, the trouble-making newspaper of the law school at the time. David and I had possibly the only two regular columns: my Grodsky’s Grumblings and David’s gossip column Able Cain, a take-off on the Chronicle’s Herb Caen. I also worked with David on the second year end of the semester holiday skits. We did a mashup of Star Trek and Rocky Horror Picture Show and David was a member of the crew: I can’t remember if he was Spock or Scottie but either way he definitely danced the time warp. He also performed a memorable rendition of Ol’ Man Prosser (to the tune of Ol’ Man River) with his freakishly low singing voice.

    David was an excellent writer, a decent poker player, and a person you just wanted to hang out with. He was the best of our class and he will be missed.

  • I think a lot of my friendship with David during our law school days was based on our status as older students (having had careers before law school) and that we were both married. So we had that in common, along with a similar view of life and the world, a view that we shared during our various conversations. Of course, what we didn’t have in common was the fact that David was a super star during law school, and I wasn’t.

    What I never told him was that I knew he would either be a law professor or a judge — and except for the “either,” I got that right. Had I told him, I’m certain he would have had none of it. We were friends, plain and simple, and status, perceived or otherwise, had nothing to do with it.

    Basically, David was a brilliant and outstanding person, masquerading as a regular guy.

  • I met David when we were both students at Berkeley Law–Boalt Hall, as it was then–and worked on the Ecology Law Quarterly. Many students weren’t quite sure why they were in law school, but David was, and he had headed toward ELQ because he already knew he would pursue international law.

    ELQ board members spent many, many hours in the journal’s tiny office, with its sagging couches and coffee-stained manuscripts, and David was one of the reasons the place was so congenial. By our third year, he was editor in chief. His leadership was natural, gentle, and effective. (Okay, he never managed to get ELQ issues out on time–but I doubt anyone could have.) He was serious about the work but entirely free of the pomposity that can infect a law student who has been given the slightest authority. And he was still always up for fun. We threw parties and went on picnics; once we put on a law school prom, to which everyone wore thrift-store party dresses and suits.

    Everyone remembers David’s velvety voice. It was effortlessly impressive, whether answering questions in class or singing, to the tune of “Ol’ Man River,” his “Ol’ Man Prosser” version. (“He just keeps selling that book….”) And when David threw back his head and laughed, which he did often, the warmth melted whatever tension had congealed in the room and made everyone within earshot a little happier.

    It surprised no one that David went on to a stellar career, and that his students and colleagues were as drawn to him as his classmates had been. It is a shame that his laugh was silenced too soon—but a blessing that so many people around the world got a chance to hear it.

  • Professor Caron was the definition of a distinguished scholar. As a student in his international commercial arbitration class at Berkeley Law in 2011, his passion, enthusiasm, and deep aptitude for international law was immediately evident and infectious. But the attribute about David that remains with me to this day, is the spirit of kindness and genuine concern that David had for every person he encountered. From meetings during office hours, to dinners at his house in the Berkeley hills with his wife and friends, to kind words in passing in the hallways, David remains the one person that I have encountered in the legal profession whom I aspire to be most like. This is not only for his stellar reputation and intellect, but perhaps more importantly, for how David treated others and how he approached fulfilling his life’s purpose.

    A great joy of my legal career after graduating from Berkeley Law was appearing as counsel before Professor Caron in a case where he was appointed arbitrator. There, even if just for a short time, I saw his world-renowned intellect, fairness, and diligence firsthand. I am still greatly saddened by his passing, as the international legal community is now deprived of one of its shining stars.

  • David was the teacher and mentor that I aspire to be. Not only did he teach me the fundamentals of international law with keen insight, but he inspired me as to its potential for bringing about a just and peaceful world order. In large part, he is the reason why I teach and practice in this field today, seeking to follow the example he set for me at Berkeley Law with future generations of law students. But David didn’t just inspire, he opened doors for students like myself in the competitive field of international law, making possible careers in academia and international legal practice. Above all, David brought great heart and humanity to his work—he was so generous, open and kind with his students. He always had time for us well beyond law school, and delighted in bringing us together in community.

    David, I miss you terribly—I will never forget your great big laugh, your beautiful baritone voice serenading our international law class, your love for life. Thank you for your friendship and for lighting up our world with your warmth and brilliance.

  • “Hiya Buddy!”

    It was the way David typically greeted me after a long spell of not seeing each other: with an exclamation and a hug. It signifies why – even as I also knew him as a scholar, a colleague, a mentor, and a neighbor – I’ll remember him most as a friend and simply a great guy.

    We appreciate David for his expertise and his eloquence. And most of all as a husband and father. Also, as a unique character – surely the only person who was simultaneously a leading legal scholar, a Coast Guard veteran, and a member of a renowned choir, among many other fine things.

    But along with the broad flow of his life, I want to honor the small moments.

    I first met David back in 1987, when he was a law firm associate and I was a foundation program officer. We briefly worked together on organizing an arbitration conference. We didn’t know each other well back then. But I still recall his parting words when I told him I was going off to staff the foundation’s Philippines office, barely a year after a dictatorship had fallen and democracy had been restored there. I mentioned that I was both excited and concerned about heading off into the unknown. Flashing that broad Caronesque grin with that sparkle in his eye, he assured me, “You’re off to build a nation!”

    My point isn’t about myself or that nation, but rather that those few words captured so much about David: He grasped the big picture even as he shared a human touch.

    In this small world, our paths crossed a number of times after ’87. First when I taught a course on law and international development at Boalt, and later when my wife Betty and I met Susan through mutual friends. But the paths finally fully came together when David and Susan moved into a house across the street from ours in Oakland, years ago. To be honest, I don’t remember the exact year and I don’t care, because by now it seems like we were friends forever.

    And then, so many small moments that meant so much. Thanksgiving dinners, New Year’s celebrations, and 49ers games. Meeting Marina and Peter. Other get-togethers for dinner at our homes, Montclair’s Italian Colors restaurant, and London pubs. Times when David and I joined Susan, Betty, and other self-named Champagne Gals for some sips of bubbly. Professional gatherings at David’s and Susan’s home. Many neighborhood walks. Chats and discussions about the neighborhood, our families, the law school, human rights, international affairs, and politics. David’s advice – always wise, though to my detriment I didn’t always follow it – about teaching. Staying with David and Susan in London after he assumed the deanship of the King’s College law school there; their staying with us when visiting from abroad. Rendezvousing one morning in Singapore, when David persevered despite experiencing what I’ll simply call the aftermath of a celebratory Kings College law alumni dinner.

    To pick just one gathering out of many: meeting up in Berlin for several days with David, Susan, and our friends Doug and Laurence, whom David and Susan had previously introduced us to. On a beautiful summer day, while the women went off on a bike ride adventure, we three guys strolled to a local market, sat by the river over beers while a busker strummed Springsteen in the background, and finally wandered back past a moving memorial. Spending the next day with Marina and visiting the abandoned airport cum people’s park near her flat. While Doug did yeoman’s work with his phone GPS to get us around town during that trip, David was equally the navigator.

    Memories of Berlin bring me to David the Connector – meeting wonderful people through this wonderful man. From Geneva to the Bay Area, he expanded our circle of friends.

    In a tribute to such an illustrious life, it may seem out of place to talk about a disappointment. But how David handled that reflected his humanity, humility, and even keel as much as any of his many accomplishments. At one point, he wasn’t appointed to an important position he’d been hoping for. But in chatting about it afterward, he provided an astute analysis of the dynamics at play, an acceptance of what had happened, and an appreciation for all that he had in life – his wife, his kids, his friends, his career. Again, the big picture and the human touch.

    And through it all, through all the years…that wit and wisdom, that eloquence and even elegance blending with conviviality and informality. That cerebral analysis and that warm hug. That broad grin. And, above all, that sparkle.

    David’s sparkle lives on as an example and an inspiration for how to keep both the big picture and the human touch in mind.

    So, so long buddy. You’ve sailed on, but you’ll never sail out of our hearts.

    — Stephen Golub, Berkeley Law colleague

  • David and I were in that first year law school 5-person crucible called “study group,” and we all quickly became close friends. He and I of course were in classes together; we shared meals together; we did joint projects together (I think I had the dubious distinction of being the only classmate who pulled David’s grade down below High Honors); we met each other’s families; and much more. He was always warm and generous and engaging, while often being larger than life (and so enjoying life).

    David is the star of some of my favorite memories from Boalt:

    • As others have said, David had a magnificent singing voice. At a year-end celebration, David went onstage and serenaded the law school crowd with some old standards and dance tunes, significantly raising the quality of the entire event. Several of us, having had a bit too much celebratory beverage, joined him to be the chorus on one of his tunes. Let’s just say we didn’t have quite the vocal control that David did. The audience went from applause to groans. David found this humorous rather than annoying, and just sang louder and better, bringing back cheers. I can say with confidence that this was the one time in my life where my singing on stage was met with applause (although it was a close thing).
    • David had a gift for making people feel special, and because he was so kind, he used it often. During our graduation, our families went out for a meal together. David met my then-83-old grandmother, looked deeply into her eyes, and with a smile said, “Madam, you must have been a child bride.” She blushed and laughed like a school girl. I think that was her high point for the graduation – if not the entire year.
    • My top law school memory came our first semester of our first year. We were in Professor Coon’s Contracts class. Coons called on David to explain the holding of a case. David paused, then asked, “Professor, would you mind if I taught the class on this one?” Coons looked surprised yet pleased (David already had a reputation as being an excellent student), and agreed. David walks to the podium, adjusts his glasses, and then begins to ask students questions in a dead-on impersonation of Coons – the voice, the mannerisms, the sentence structure, the pauses, everything. Well, the class just roared – and nobody laughed harder than Professor Coons. David continues the impersonation for a good five minutes, and then Coons finally wipes his eyes, goes back to the podium, shakes David’s hand and thanks him, and David returns to his seat.

    So here’s the best part of the story: after class, we ask David how he had the guts to do that – what if Coons had reacted the wrong way? David looks sheepish and says, “I hadn’t read the case. I figured I had to do something – that was the first thing that came to mind.”

    That was legendary. I still can’t believe he pulled that off. David has had so many well recognized intellectual and professional achievements, but as far as I’m concerned, that tops them all.

    I talked to David only occasionally in the past decade. We were both busy and I figured we’d have a chance to reconnect and spend some time together when things calmed down a bit. Now that won’t happen. Like so many, I won’t get a chance to share those memories with him and make new ones. His passing leaves a gap in so many lives, including mine. I will miss him.

  • My sincere condolences to Susan on David’s passing. We are deeply saddened. David and graduated from the same undergraduate institution (USCGA) and Susan and I were counterparts in the ES&H organization – she at Cal while I was at Berkeley Lab.

    We miss you both and are sorry we’re out of town for the service.

  • I think the best word to describe Professor Caron would be “mentor.” His accomplishments, scholarship, and prominence were overshadowed only by his humility. Boalties working in international claims and compensation processes, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs the world over have him to thank.

  • David Caron was simply a wonderful human being. Our paths first crossed in the Hague, where he was clerking on the ICJ and I was attending the Hague Institute summer course in the early 1980s. Over the years, at international law events, he would always gather the “Boalties” (“Berkeleys?”) together and encourage us in our various pursuits. When I was Legal Adviser of the International Labour Organization in the late 2000s, I heard him speak at an anniversary event of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. I can still hear him saying, “I love the ocean.” And then warning us about how we were abusing it and needed to stop. He was anxious to hear more about the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and its contribution to safety at sea. When I next saw him, I was close to completing a book on transnational labour law, and he proposed a launch event at King’s College London. Alas, that event was not to be. The international law community has lost a great scholar and a very kind person, full of grace. Sincere condolences to his family and former colleagues.

  • David was a one-of-a-kind person. He effortlessly combined qualities of grace, generosity, humor, and warmth with leadership and enormous academic, practical, and personal achievement. I am privileged that we were friends.

    We met as law school classmates at Berkeley in a small section property class thankfully structured in a way that seemed to encourage us to get to know one another. David’s quick wit, ready smile, and self-confident manner distinguished him from the get-go. At some point, a group of us began spending more time together, navigating the day-to-day grind of first year and sharing an eclectic mix of outside interests that made the law school experience more enjoyable. Arriving at school to find that David had posted a new high score in the Space Invaders game, situated near the front door, was oddly uplifting. Had there been an other-worldly incident, David and his squadron clearly had honed the skills uniquely needed to defend planet Boalt and its perimeter (i.e., everything else in and around Cal, including Blondie’s Pizza). Our study group (David, Barb Hood, Jeff Hall, Andy Buchsbaum and I) formed organically, as a natural outgrowth of spending time with one another. Although who did what in that group has long been forgotten — except for David’s oversized contribution to our general academic well-being — our bonds forged in school became the foundation for enduring and treasured friendships.

    I got to know David in several other ways as well. We both joined the Ecology Law Quarterly, and It was apparent from the start that David had incredible leadership and organizational skills and would one day be editor. He was the unanimous pick for this position. David’s event-planning and community-building talents did not go to waste at ELQ. The ELQ prom was a ridiculously spirited evening for us. Later David would go on to plan noteworthy conferences and forums for academics, but I would like to think that the grand success of the ELQ prom in a small way figured into his inspiration to do so.

    During our second year at school, David and I also began what became a fascinating decades-long discussion about the qualities of a great law school dean, a great faculty member, and a great legal institution. Then-Dean Kadish was stepping down and the school was beginning its search for his replacement. Student efforts to be part of the Dean search process were initially rebuffed by the administration as irrelevant given our comparatively short tenure at the school. An intense outcry from students, backed by articles in our school paper, The Truth (an engaging mixture of Meet the Press and Mad Libs, with Andy B. as editor and David as a columnist), resulted in a six-member student committee that would weigh in on the search. I was chosen as one of two students from that committee to sit in on faculty meetings discussing the Dean search process and the candidates. The committee as a whole was tasked with gathering student opinion, interviewing the final candidates, and presenting a report to the faculty. Students weighed in with concerns about criteria for faculty hiring, diversity, the lack of women professors, and the need for curriculum expansion, among other things. There was a sizeable gulf in student and faculty (majority) opinion about these issues. Of course, I consulted David and he provided thoughtful commentary. It was clear to me then that David cared deeply and in a personal way about this. I had no doubt that when, not if, he became a professor or dean himself that he would be great — promoting scholarship and teaching, theory and practice, experiential learning, and gender inclusivity and diversity all as parts of a necessary whole. It was not hard to be right about this prediction. When David became a professor at the law school, we continued this discussion with additional perspective–he as an “insider,” and me as a prosecutor, specializing in a field (DNA evidence), and in an area (Fourth Amendment/constitutional law) that draws its share of commentary from the academic community.

    A few months before David’s passing, I had the extremely good fortune to spend substantial time with David. Upon learning that my husband and I were headed to Amsterdam, he insisted we also stay with him in The Hague. David was exceptionally gracious, as always. We walked the wooded path between his elegant home and the Court where he worked. He showed us the city. We shared meals and many laughs. Conversation shifted easily between the law, his new puppy Max (a worthy successor to his law school dog, Tara), current events, law school memories, and funny everyday this and that. Although David could have been excused if his prolific number of accomplishments had made him a bit arrogant, such excuse was never needed, because David was anything but that way. He remained true to himself, and the kind, humble, joyous friend that he was in law school. At one point in our visit David pulled out a big box that contained photos that had once been pinned to the ELQ bulletin board. There were hundreds of these photos from the three years at school. David not only remembered the names of each and every person in these photos, but he related a good memory about each person. His memories were touching. When we discussed our plans for the future, David had one constant. He always wanted to remain a part of the law school and mentor students. The school was extremely important to him.

    I miss David. I hope that his memory and example will live on as brightly at the school as it does for all of the people that he has so deeply touched.

  • David was my father’s professor in the late 1980’s, and my father admired him deeply and attributes to David his inspiration for choosing to become a professor himself.

  • David and I were classmates at the Academy in New London, Ct from late June 1970 until our Graduation on 5 June 1974. The entering Class of 74 started with about 356 young men; four years later only 198 of us, including David, graduated and were commissioned as Ensigns in the Coast Guard.

    David was known throughout the Class of 74 as the “Man who Launched 10,000 Pushups” a tale, like most sea-stories that contained a kernel of truth, but also a tale that was a bit inflated. It is safe to say that everyone in the Class knew “of David” but only the guys in his small “section” actually knew David.

    David was in Section 7 and I happened to be in Section 3. David was a political science major, I was an engineering major. David sang in the choir and starred in Cadet Musicals, including “1776,” I was on the Crew team. Bottom line, as a Cadet, I knew of David – I didn’t know David.

    But that changed about 16 or 17 years later in the early 1990’s; by then David had resigned from the Coast Guard, been a Fulbright scholar, gone to law school and was a member of the faculty at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. I also had gone to law school and was assigned to the Coast Guard legal office in Alameda. As it happened, someone organized an informal “Class” mini-reunion (a luncheon actually) at a local restaurant on the Oakland waterfront. It was during one of those luncheons that I really got to know David, the David that Berkeley Law knew and loved.

    He went out of his way to invite me to several of the meetings of the “Ocean Law Institute” that he co-founded. He always found the time to make me feel welcome at these events, even though my Academic credentials were insignificant compared to David’s. He and Susan hosted several of the Class mini-reunions up at their home – which is absolutely stunning – and of course, they were the perfect hosts. In 1994, I received orders to CG Academy in New London, CT. Fortunately, in 1998, I was re-assigned back to Alameda. David was still at Berkeley and we picked up our friendship right about where we left off four years earlier. That’s one thing about being Academy Classmates, it creates a bond, a brotherhood actually, that survives passages of time, the occasional personal and professional screw up, and even death.

    David and I had dinner about a week before he left for London and his Deanship at King’s College in London. Again he made me feel like an intellectual equal – which I clearly was not – but that was one of David’s great gifts – he was an excellent listener and he always welcomed the opinions of others.

    In 2015, David invited me to London to attend the World Justice Forum – he wrote that “he thought I would be interested….” Being somewhat thrifty, I bought a non-refundable ticket to fly from SFO the Heathrow. About a month later, in was announced that the Forum was being postponed for at least a year. David, being the resourceful guy that he was, insisted that I come anyway and stay with him and Susan at their flat not far from Victoria station and that he would get tickets to see the original Magna Carta signed by King John in 1215 AD. It was going to be on display for a few weeks in the British Library for the 800th Anniversary of its signing. Needless, to say, I accepted. David was especially generous with his time during that visit. He showed me around the law school, we spent an entire afternoon at the Magna Carta exhibition and I should note, there was an original parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence also on display. It was an amazing experience. And there is an interesting twist to this story – in the Class of 74 Yearbook, there are several photos of David; one of those pictures is the cast of the Cadet production of “1776” – and in the middle is David – striking his best pose as Thomas Jefferson – the principle architect of the Declaration of Independence. And the resemblance is striking – almost eerily striking.

    David also took me to the Temple Bar, where he was a member of the Choir. He also sang with that Choir at a performance in the British Parliament. David had an amazing signing talent. How he found time to fit those practices and rehearsals into his busy schedule was always a source of wonder for me. Any yet he never seemed to be in a hurry.

    In 2014, forty years after graduating from the Academy, David was named as a Coast Guard Academy Distinguished Graduate, an honor that he richly deserved. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that no-one else in that Class – including the 5 who eventually were promoted to Admiral, were as gifted in as many ways as David. He could have been an Admiral had he wanted to, but he chose a different path, a path marked by a fierce passion and unrivaled excellence in the practice and teaching of the law. But beyond that, for me, he will always be a great friend and classmate.

  • Professor Caron’s contributions to the work of the United Nations continue to be felt by those of my colleagues in many spheres of international law and international organization.

    I was also privileged to build on his contributions to engage in the UN process to draft an international treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities throughout early 2000s as the principal officer in the UN Secretariat, involving a number of Berkeley students and alumni, thanks to his strong support at both institutional and professional levels. In 2012, the four society meeting on disaster and international law he organized also included the critical issues relating to the role of international law in protecting those who are most disadvantaged with vulnerabilities, including those with disabilities.

    I am so grateful to Professor Caron and UC Berkeley – its Law School, which we called “Boalt Hall.”

    Thank you so much,
    Akiko Ito