Paul Hartman had already left one lasting legacy: a generation of students who both revered and feared him for his challenging Socratic teaching.
Through a bequest, Professor Hartman and his wife, Dorothy, have provided another legacy by endowing the Paul Hartman Public Interest Fund, which will support a number of law school initiatives and activities related to public interest law.
Professor Hartman joined Vanderbilt's law faculty in 1949 and he, along with Dean John Wade and fellow law professors Paul Sanders, Ted Smedley and Herman Trautman, formed a core group of faculty who remained at the law school for more than 20 years and were responsible for the school's rise to national stature. "For many students, [Dean John] Wade was the brain of the School, and [Paul] Hartman was its soul," Don Welch wrote in his history, The Vanderbilt Law School: Aspirations and Realities (Vanderbilt University Press, 2007).
Professor Hartman was a nationally recognized authority in state and location taxation. Although he retired in 1976, he continued teaching at the law school until 1988. Professor Hartman was honored in 1975, shortly before his retirement, when the law school's "Outstanding Professor" award was named after him. The name of another legendary teacher, Professor Don Hall, was added to the award in 2007; it is now known as the Hall-Hartman Award.
Professor Hartman and his wife left a bequest of more than $600,000 to the law school, much of which will support public interest initiatives through the Paul Hartman Public Interest Fund. "Vanderbilt Law School was very fortunate to have professors of the caliber of Paul Hartman on the faculty at a crucial time in the school's development," said Dean Edward L. Rubin. "Professor Hartman made a tremendous contribution to the law school as a faculty member and served as acting dean while Dean John Wade was on sabbatical. This gift represents another lasting contribution from Professor Hartman and his wife, and we are really grateful."