St. John’s loses estemmed professor

St. John’s Law Professor Joseph Beard passed away on December 31 from natural causes, according to Associate Academic Dean of the Law School, Andrew Simons.

Beard, who began his teaching career at St. John’s in 1982, taught various classes including Entertainment Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, and Commercial Law.

Beard spent thirty years in the United States Navy and retired as Captain, USNR.
He then worked as an electrical engineer who specialized in electronics and computers before obtaining his law degree. Before teaching at St. John’s he taught at the New England School of Law.

He received many degrees, including a B.S. from Tufts University, J.D from Suffolk University, M.B.A from Babson College, LL.M from Boston University, and S.J.D from Harvard University.

Besides teaching, Beard was active in the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. According to its web site, the society “is a center of the U.S. copyright community for business people, lawyers in private practice and in-house, law professors and law students who share a common interest in copyright and related intellectual property rights.” In addition to being the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, he was also a Trustee and Chair of the society’s Bicentennial Committee.

According to the St. John’s web site, Beard “wrote the first scholarly study of law regarding digital replicas of celebrities,” entitled Casting Call at Forest Lawn: The Digital Resurrection of Deceased Entertainers-A 21st Century Challenge for Intellectual Property Law, which was first published in the Berkeley High Technology Law Journal.

After writing this journal, Beard lectured across the country, as well as abroad, speaking about digital actors, and appeared on CNN, BBC Radio and Television, and ABC World News Tonight. He has also been quoted in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter.

Beard’s St. John’s colleagues remembered him fondly and as more than just a colleague.

“He was a grand fellow, more than a colleague,” said law professor Robert Parella.

“He never lost his enthusiasm or his sense of humor.”

He also said that Beard was “really loved by his colleagues.”

Law professor Nina Crimm, who said that Beard was “well-regarded” in the St. John’s community, also added, “I think that he was an individual who was very generous and he brought his sense of fun into his classroom.”

Simons said that Beard was “a great guy– an engineer and a scholar,” and that he was “teaching up until the end.

A memorial service for the professor is scheduled for Saturday, January 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Belson Moot Courtroom in St. John’s Law School.