ouis Loss's central academic achievement was, of course, the production of the treatise on securities regulation. In its massive and comprehensive quality it resembled the achievements of his predecessors Austin Scott and Samuel Williston. Although it started as a one-volume work alongside their multivolume rows it came abreast of them in size by the second edition and pulled ahead by the third. But it was unique in that it created the field it analyzed and described since nobody before then had thought of securities law as a field or imagined its structure. Louis also had the ability to find a colleague with whom he could work on equal terms so that the project could be carried on after him in a manner that transcends the cut-and-paste works of so many successor editions.
A secondary but important part of his life's work was the American Law Institute's project to develop a model securities code. In the ALI he had his predecessors and contemporaries-Scott, Williston, Scott, Seavey, Casner, Braucher. It is demanding work and requires putting one's scholarly individualism in reserve as one struggles to achieve formulations that one finds acceptable while at the same time getting a majority vote for them from a very diverse group of people. In particular, the play of powerful interest groups challenged Louis' ability to pull the draft together but careful balancing and patient persuasion succeeded again and again. That the U.S. Congress failed to give the force of law to this monumental achievement reflects badly on that body rather than on the drafter.
As a teacher Louis adapted quickly to the requirements of the Harvard Law School even when they were different from those of his alma mater, a smaller and more intimate institution. He could control the largest classroom spaces we had to offer, even the cavernous Langdell North and South Middle rooms. Students appreciated the realism and worldliness he brought with him into the halls of academe-as well as his capacity for relieving the dryness and complexity of the subject with revealing and amusing anecdotes. They knew that there was nothing unlawful about receiving and using insider tips in that context. It was indeed a chastening experience to have to teach a section of Corporations alongside such a spellbinder, and I was fortunate to be able to start under a regime in which the administration assigned students to sections regardless of their preferences. Their preference would clearly have been Louis. Looking back at the very first student evaluation from the 1960s I find the summary lavish in its praise of Louis. It ends by warning that there may be a bit too much securities regulation for the basic Corporations course but concludes-"consider the alternatives." He was generous in his interest in helping younger faculty in solving teaching problems though he could never, in the nature of things, quite pass along the unique qualities of his teaching.
While his focus on Harvard was intense he also knew himself to be part of a broader, even international, community. He was on close terms with his British counterpart Jim Gower, who like him was a leader in teaching and improving corporation law, and would have been saddened by the knowledge that Gower survived him by only a few weeks. Louis took a special interest in South Africa, sharpened by his own experience of discrimination as a Jewish person looking for employment in the Wall Street of the 1930s. He became involved at a time when South Africa was mired in the deadlock produced by its policies of apartheid and did what he could to encourage dissidents from that regime and to keep alive the possibility of change. . . .
In the midst of this whirlwind of academic activity, Louis somehow found time for quite a substantial amount of practice. Given his years of litigation for the government and the scarcity of comparable expertise in the civilian sector this was a natural extension, and he enjoyed hearing the noises of combat and smelling the odor of gunpowder again. There were times when he was offered more work than he could handle. He would then favor his juniors with the opportunity. On one occasion he was asked to work on a case in which the firm that consulted him had been sharply criticized by the Court of Appeals for the unnecessary length and verbosity of its brief. In giving me the chance he smiled and said, "I told them that you would say less than anybody else I could think of." I think I hear him now clearing his throat and saying "Det, that reminds me. . . ." And so I will come to an end. In ending I'll refer to the old Harvard lines "time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away." It does that but they leave their contributions for others to build upon. -Professor Detlev Vagts '51