They call him “Stiggy.” It’s a term of endearment.
There were some less than endearing terms thrown around at Professor Jan Stiglitz’ retirement roast on Friday, March 27 at 98 Bottles. But it was all in good fun.
Stiglitz is stepping-down as co-director of the California Innocence Project, which he co-founded in 1999, but he remains a full-time professor. The program has led to the exoneration of 18 wrongfully convicted prisoners over the years.
Roaster after roaster let him have it, but many of them were overcome by emotion because of the positive impact Stiglitz had on their lives and careers.
In fact, some of his former students who roasted him the most wound up in tears, saying things like “you were so tough on us…but you made us better students, better people and kick-a*#% lawyers.”
Stiglitz is best-known for his work with the California Innocence Project, but is also famous for his Civil Procedure class, which was not for the faint of heart.
“He could smell fear and terror—then he’d hone in on it and attack,” said Gigi Barrows’06, a former student now practicing law in Houston. But Barrows—like all of the roasters—is grateful to Stiglitz for helping her become the lawyer she is today.
California Innocence Project director and co-founder Justin Brooks reminded the audience of how Stiglitz would push them by saying things like “you’ll never be a lawyer.” Then Brooks asked, “how many of you are lawyers?” and hands shot up all over the room amid the cheers. “You were wrong,” said Brooks.
Stiglitz himself got a standing ovation when it was his turn to speak, saying, “You have given me more than I could have ever given you.”
“Stiggy”, who is truly loved, is now on sabbatical, and will be teaching at the law school for a few more years.