A Tribute to Philippe S.E. Schreiber


The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law recently lost a great friend, a wonderful colleague and an ardent supporter. He was the longest-serving member of the Board of Directors.

Philippe Stephen Eric Schreiber of Nantucket, Massachusetts, formerly of New York City, New York and Fairfield, Connecticut, died Saturday, February 14, 2009 from heart disease. He was 68 years old.

Philippe was born in London, England and moved to New York City as a child where his father, Marc Schreiber, had a long career with the United Nations and was ultimately appointed head of the Human Rights Division.

Philippe graduated from the Lyçee Français in New York and received his undergraduate education at Columbia University and the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. He received his Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 1967.

Philippe was one of the first Editors-in-Chief of the Journal and then became an active Board member for decades. He recruited new members, encouraged successive generations of editors with his infectious enthusiasm and intellectual insight and provided the practical advice integral to the Journal’s continuing distinction as the leading student international law journal. He also generated and transmitted the traditions and folklore of the Journal that are still passed down from the days of Professor Wolfgang Friedmann.

Philippe was a true transnationalist, both in his professional life and in his personal and moral values and practices. He spoke fluent French and Spanish, and was at home traveling and doing business around the world. He was as close to being a “global citizen” as you could find.

His practice of law focused on international and oil and gas exploration companies. He was a board member of Bill Barrett Corporation and its predecessor company for more than twenty years. He worked in prestigious law firms, as in-house counsel at international construction and energy companies and founded and ran his own oil and gas company. In recent years he ran a thriving legal practice from his home office on a beautiful windy moor near the ocean in Nantucket.

Philippe was in many ways the bridge that connected the present day Journal with its origins. He knew and worked with Professor Friedmann and could impart to each new Board and staff the enduring values and purpose for which this Journal was founded. His counsel was sage and his demeanor was calm. When Philippe spoke, everyone listened. His frequent offers to help the Journal navigate through difficult times was vintage Philippe.

He was also Vice President of the Nantucket Arts Council and taught French and a foreign film Great Directors class at the Nantucket Community School.

His is survived by his wife, Patricia Harrington Schreiber; his three daughters, Elin Harrington-Schreiber of Denver, Colorado, Ariane Schreiber Horn of Chatham, New Jersey and Paula K. Gatens of Waynesville, North Carolina; two grandchildren, Elena and Alexander Horn; and his sister Anne Patricia Schreiber and her four daughters of Brussels, Belgium.

We will miss him greatly.

The Board of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law