Founding Dean of Law School Dies

Posted: March 1, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

John Brabner-Smith, founding dean of the international school of law that became George Mason University’s School of Law, recently passed away at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 99.

Born in Little Falls, Minn., in 1900, Brabner-Smith earned degrees at Yale University, Yale Law School, and Northwestern Law School. He moved to Washington, D.C., shortly after graduating from Northwestern to become special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States. In this capacity, he was involved with the historic Lindberg kidnapping case and the successful prosecution of gangster Al Capone.

After World War II, Brabner-Smith continued his government service, specializing in constitutional law and drafting constitutions for the Native American Tribes and the Republic of the Philippines. In 1972, he became the founding dean of the international school of law, which later became the George Mason School of Law. He also taught jurisprudence and wrote many articles on constitutional law.

At the law school’s Founder’s Day celebration held in May, Brabner-Smith was recognized for his contributions to George Mason. He was represented at the ceremony by his wife, Daniela.

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