In Memoriam: Estelle Ackerman Fishbein, 1934-2023

Estelle Fishbein, the first woman to serve as general counsel at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, died on December 2. She was 89 years old.

A native of the Bronx, New York, Fishbein earned a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in New York and a law degree from Yale Law School. She worked as an attorney for the University of Maryland and the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare before joining the staff at Johns Hopkins in 1975.

In 1980, Fishbein became the first woman president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. “She was among the trailblazers, first as a woman lawyer, but also there at the creation of higher education law,” said Gerard St. Ours, one of the university’s current senior associate general counsels. “One thing I was aware of when I joined was ‘Wow, I am working with a living legend.'”

Fishbein retired as general counsel in 2004, after 29 years in the post.

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