Julia Alpert Gladstone (JD, LLM)
Decmber 24, 1958 to May 14, 2008
Julia lived a life full of deep relationships, constant personal growth and a passion for her work in the law, technology and education. Though the focus of this website is her work, her life was by no means limited to that work; she was also a spiritual woman with a love for family, a passion for helping those suffering addiction and commitment to maintaining her physical health through a vegetarian diet, daily running routine and dedicated yoga practice.
This website is simply a memorial to her work, her love for teaching and her drive to understand a world in constant change.
Those looking to commemorate her life can make a donation to help continue her fight for internet privacy and freedom of speech at The Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Any friend or colleague who wishes to add to this page, please contact Daniel Gladstone.
LLM - Morin Center for Banking Law Studies 1986
JD - Boston University School of Law 1983
BA - Smith College 1980
Written February 2006
Transcribed from this original letter
Dear Professor Gladstone,
Once again, I would like to thank you for writing me a letter of recommendation for my law school admissions process. My reason for asking you to write this letter was not because of the grade I received in your course, but instead, because I felt that your class reflected more appropriately what my student experience has been like here at Bryant. Your Socratic method of teaching made me much more interested in the law and played a major role in my final decision to apply to law school. Your method of teaching required more of me as a student than just memorizing facts and definitions; it required me to analyze the assigned materials and think on a much higher and introspective level than most other courses. I am truly appreciative of you for both; writing on my behalf, and making my educational experience here at Bryant much more fascinating.
Written February of 2021
Julia Gladstone was a dear friend, a talented scholar and professor, and I admired her greatly. Julia and I worked together on a jointly taught course on women and the law. The course grew out of our shared interests in women’s empowerment, especially reproductive rights, women’s sex work, and workplace discrimination. We came to these issues from different courses of study—me, from my work in Women’s Centers and cultural/feminist theory, and Julia, from her work as a lawyer and a legal scholar. Julia was the driving force behind getting this course developed, and it was so important to get this course approved and taught because it gave students a chance to think about the impact of the law on their own lives and bodies. It also introduced students to women’s lives that were sometimes remote from their own experiences. Julia was completely attached to the learning that happened in the classroom, and I learned so much from her, as she carefully took students step-by-step through the legal analysis. One of my fondest memories is presenting a joint paper in 2003 on the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision before a group at the First Unitarian Church. It was crucial moment. Julia was unflinching in her support for woman’s physical and professional autonomy. She was an advocate in the best sense of the word; she lived the principles she taught. I remember, most of all, her laughter and our animated discussions. It was an honor to work with Julia and to call her friend and colleague.
Written December of 2020
Nearly a decade ago we packed all my mom’s papers into a cardboard box and stored it away for some unknown future use. Over the years I would go to that box, read some of what my mom had written and find myself inspired by her love for knowledge and her deep concern for justice. Because she died when I was still a teenager my conversation about her work stopped before I had the chance to discuss her work with her as two adults. Now that I have my own career in technology and a more complete understanding of the world, these papers have become an important way in which I can connect with her.
I’ve taken the time to build this website because her work is genuinely interesting and seemed like my privilege as her son to make sure her work did not just collect dust in some box.
Jacqueline Alpert and Christopher LeightonSister and brother-in-law
Written December 2020
As Julia’s sister and brother-in-law we were observers of Julia as she transformed and grew in her too short life as a scholar and professor. Early on it was very clear to her that her role as a professor was much more rewarding than her role as a private attorney. Her love of the law lay in sharing it rather than in litigating it. She shifted her career trajectory from practicing law to teaching law. She found joy in researching, writing and education. We watched as she was drawn to focusing on writing about the challenges the law faced in dealing with the enormous impact of technology on personal privacy. She opened our eyes and taught us much as family members.
What stood out the most to us was her love of working with students. To her, the value in knowledge was in sharing it. She trusted students to do their best and encouraged students to be autonomous and self-directed in their learning. She derived great satisfaction in supporting those students challenged by circumstances but who wanted to learn. In addition to working with undergraduate students, she was drawn to opportunities to share research/ writings with colleagues nationally and internationally.
Written March of 2021
Julia is the person who first interviewed me back in 2005 and advocated for my hiring at Bryant. For that, I am very grateful. She interviewed me at the AAAS conference in Washington, DC,--the “meat market” for law faculty wannabes. After a parade of men and women in business dresses, she opened the door to her room—yes, interviews take place in a hotel room to the side of a queen bed—wearing jeans, boots, and a Columbia jacket (or a similar brand). A refreshing look and style. The tone of the interview was very different from the others. She was “selling” me Bryant as opposed to having me selling myself to the prospective employer.
That was the beginning of a short but meaningful professional relationship, imperfect like all human relationships but driven by mutual respect and the desire to work together. In fact, before my arrival, Julia had been awarded a very competitive NIH grant to study ELSI issues in genomics (ethical, legal, and social issues). That was my expertise, so the plan was to develop a research agenda together, add related courses to the curriculum, and possibly develop an undergraduate degree in the field.
Unfortunately, none of this has happened because Julia’s health issues crushed this plan very rapidly by the end of my first year at Bryant. Her illness brought us closer in a different, more personal way, in which she showed her vulnerabilities and offered me an opportunity to show mine. While unfortunate, this part of the story also contributed to my growth and the realization that some things are worth fighting for; some others, we should just let them go.
I am now the age Julia was when she passed away. I feel I still have many miles to walk in front of me and can empathize with the sense of loss Julia must have experienced, with two young kids, as I do. It is good to honor her memory so that her presence is still felt among us.
Written April of 2021
Julia hired me to teach in the Legal Studies program at Bryant University only a few years before she became ill. I sincerely wish that I had known her longer, because she was a true woman of substance. Academia is a vicious environment, but Julia was the exception to that rule; she was kindness personified to the new gal in the Department. I soon learned that she could be trusted and was supportive of her colleagues; if she promised she would do something for you, she always did it. If you asked her a question about the Department or University, she answered it if she could; if she couldn’t, she would say “I don’t know but I’ll get back to you on that.” And she always did.
I clearly recall the big smile she had whenever I showed up at her office door. She never rushed me out and I loved our sit-downs and discussions of the legal “hot topics” of the day. She was dedicated to expanding the legal studies’ course offerings for the sole benefit of our students, and had she lived, I know she would have succeeded. During her tenure as head of legal studies, the number of students taking our courses grew exponentially, thanks entirely to her efforts.
The day her illness was announced at the university, many of the female faculty cried openly. We did it again when the faculty met to wish her goodbye on her last day at Bryant. I sat beside her, held her hand and tried to say something comforting. She still gave me that big smile. Such courage.