Press Release

Longtime AALDEF board member Peter D. Lederer dies at age 91

Image for Longtime AALDEF board member Peter D. Lederer dies at age 91
Photo by Corky Lee

Peter D. Lederer died on August 8 at the age 91 at his home in Connecticut. He was an AALDEF board member from 1987 to 2017 and supported many other organizations in the Asian American community, including Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI) in NYC.

(Peter Lederer, left, with AALDEF board and staff)

Image by AALDEF

Born in Austria, Peter left Vienna with his family in 1938 when the Nazis came to power. He wrote about his journey to the U.S.–via Heiden, Zurich, Paris, and New York–on his personal blog. Peter received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as a research assistant to Prof. Karl Llewellyn, one of the founders of the Legal Realism movement and a principal drafter of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Peter was one of the early partners at Baker & McKenzie, working in its New York, Chicago, and Zurich offices for over forty years until 1994. He then moved on to consulting for major global enterprises, creating an internet startup, and then returned to an academic setting. He modestly described himself as an “amateur nonagenarian futurist,” but he had a profound impact on legal education. His article, “A Modest Proposal for Legal Education,” was submitted to a law professor website the day before he died.

Peter was an adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School, co-founder of Miami Law’s Law Without Walls project, and co-creator of Passport to Practice, a program to help lawyers and law students develop technology, management, and other 21st century skills.

“Peter was a steadfast supporter of AALDEF and a legal warrior for social justice,” said AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung. “He will be greatly missed.”

Image by AALDEF

Peter and his late wife Midori Shimanouchi Lederer,
AALDEF’s 1995 Justice in Action Award recipient (Photo by Lia Chang)