Andrew E. Taslitz, 57, onetime assistant Philadelphia district attorney

Posted: February 14, 2014

ANDREW E. Taslitz once described teaching as a "vision quest."

His comment helped get him included among the 26 teachers ranked in the recently published "What the Best Law Teachers Do," from Harvard University Press.

Taslitz, who taught for 23 years at Howard University and the past two at Washington College of Law at American University, was among those nominated for the honor by students, giving the list even more credence.

"He was a really impressive guy and was filled with boundless amounts of energy," said one of those students, Jacob Eden, of Philadelphia.

"He took teaching very seriously and had a monstrous laugh. His personality was incredible."

Andrew Taslitz, who spent 2 1/2 years as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, where he taught colleagues how to deal with juvenile criminals, was formerly with the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis, and later taught at the Villanova University Law School, died Monday of cancer. He was 57 and lived in Reston, Va.

Taslitz, who was born in the Bronx, came to Philadelphia to study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law on a full scholarship, graduated cum laude in 1981 and stayed in the city.

He joined the Schnader law firm after graduating and remained until he became an assistant D.A. under Edward G. Rendell in 1983. He served as a prosecutor in numerous criminal cases and was the sole attorney in charge of juvenile rape prosecutions.

He made a videotape presentation on how to deal with accused juveniles and their victims, emphasizing the need for patience and understanding.

Taslitz was a member of the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers Association, for which he represented indigent women pro bono in domestic-relations matters.

He also was a member of the Support Center for Child Advocates, in which he acted as a guardian for abused children and represented them in court proceedings.

At Villanova, he taught a course in legal writing in 1988. He was also a visiting professor at Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Taslitz was the author of seven books, articles in legal journals on a wide variety of subjects and lectured widely.

He married the former Patricia Sun, also a lawyer, in 1981. They met at Penn.

Andrew Taslitz graduated from Bronx High School. He went on to Queens College from which he graduated in 1978 with a full scholarship to Penn.

After his time in Philadelphia, he began teaching at Howard University, a historically black college, until he went to American University in 2012.

Taslitz was a fan of sci-fi and on at least one occasion used a "Star Trek Next Generation" episode as the basis of a lecture.

Jacob Eden, who studied criminal law under Taslitz, said, "He would be all over the classroom, drawing everyone into the conversations, coming up with the most absurd and wild hypotheticals. He was always smiling, always laughing. I cannot overemphasize the size and frequency of his laugh."

His wife said Taslitz was fond of his Norwegian elk hounds, rescue dogs named after "Star Trek" characters.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a sister, Ellen Duncan.

Services: Memorial service 2 p.m. Feb. 28 at Reston Community Center Lake Anne in Reston, Va.

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