David King was associate dean at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. (Robert Lisak)
David S. King, associate professor of law and associate dean at the Quinnipiac University School of Law and a member of the Connecticut Law Tribune’s board of editors, died on Nov. 15, 2016.
King graduated from Dartmouth College in 1968, and was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. He received his J.D. (magna cum laude) from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he was on the Board of Editors of the Law Review. He received an LL.M from Harvard Law School. After a stint in private practice, he taught at the Suffolk University School of Law for a year and in 1978 joined the faculty at the University of Bridgeport School of Law.
His commitment to the law school was without equal. The law school first came into existence as the Wethersfield School of Law in 1973, moved to the University of Bridgeport in 1977, and then received full accreditation from the American Bar Association. In 1990 the Professors World Peace Academy, affiliated with Rev. Sun Myung Moon, proposed to invest heavily in the University of Bridgeport to save it from financial ruin (ultimately it gave the university $50.5 million). The law school in 1991 decided that it did not want to be affiliated with PWPA, which as part of its deal had the right to name 60 percent of the Board of Trustees. Though PWPA did not have the right to name the university president, a past-president of PWPA-USA was one of the new trustees, then chairman of the board, and finally president of the university from 1995 to 1999.
The law school started looking for a new home in 1991. In response, the university president, Edwin G. Eigel, fired Dean Terence Benbow, and the provost went to the dean’s office with the order to leave, which the dean refused to obey. The university summoned the Bridgeport police to evict the dean from his office. David King and others wrestled a heavy desk inside the office to blockade the door and stop the invasion, while Dean Benbow hung out of an open window and engaged the national media in a discussion of the preservation of the law school.
The law school eventually found a good home at Quinnipiac University, and David King continued on as associate dean for 24 years, also serving for two years as the interim dean. He was widely recognized as an excellent teacher, twice receiving the highest award granted by students for his teaching.
He also was totally committed to legal aid, serving on the board of New Haven Legal Assistance Association for many years. David King’s community service extended far and wide. He chaired South Central Connecticut Regional Planning Commission, was vice-chair of the Woodbridge Town Planning and Zoning Commission, was a member of the Woodbridge Municipal Board of Finance, and was a volunteer hearing officer for the Bridgeport and Norwalk Housing Authorities.
This fall, remarkably, he chose to teach his land use course during the most arduous time of his aggressive treatment. His desire to teach and to continue to contribute to his law school transcended his ultimately life-ending struggle.
He served on the Editorial Board of the Connecticut Law Tribune for 16 years, authoring more than 70 editorials and participating in monthly meetings at which he critiqued and voted on more than 1,000 editorials. While the subjects he chose to write on often concerned land use and related legal subjects, and legal aid, he went far beyond these fields, picking and choosing the critical and cutting-edge issues of the day and advancing our consideration of them. He was a thought leader.
David King’s insightful analysis was impressive, and his writing was virtually without equal.
His legacy is in his family, his school, his students, and his scholarship. But for this board, and for all of us, his legacy is also in the archives of the Law Tribune and the hearts and minds and thoughts of the countless people who read his editorials without ever knowing he wrote them. •