Law School Unveils Portrait of Professor Drew S. Days III ’66

Dr. Alison Days, Ann Langdon-Days, Elizabeth Days, and Dean Heather K. Gerken
Dr. Alison Days, Ann Langdon-Days, Elizabeth Days, and Dean Heather K. Gerken with the new portrait of late Yale Law School faculty member Drew Saunders Days III ’66 LL.B.

A large group of faculty, family, friends, and community members gathered at Yale Law School on Feb. 5 for a portrait unveiling ceremony honoring the life of Drew Saunders Days III ’66 LLB, the Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law.

Days, a highly regarded and much-loved figure who loomed large in the life of the School, died on Nov. 15, 2020, at the age of 79.

portrait of Professor Drew Days
The newly unveiled portrait of Drew Saunders Days III ’66 LLB.

Speakers at the event included Heather K. Gerken, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law; J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law James Forman Jr. ’92; Kica Matos, President of the National Immigration Law Center and the Immigrant Justice Fund; Elizabeth Days, who read remarks on behalf of Days’ longtime friend and Tufts University Professor John Shattuck; and Days’ widow Ann Langdon-Days.

“This portrait gives us a chance to celebrate our treasured, brilliant, and courageous Drew Days,” Gerken said during her tribute. 

“An intrepid attorney, public servant, and scholar, Drew dared to dream of a more equitable nation, and embraced the duty he felt he had to bring us closer to it,” she said, adding that everyone attending the portrait unveiling had benefited “from his advocacy, his sacrifice, his grit.” 

“From signing the government’s landmark brief in support of international human rights to desegregating public schools, including the very ones he attended as a child, the liberties we enjoy today are a part of Drew’s living legacy,” Gerken said.

Days was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1941. He graduated from Hamilton College with an A.B. in English Literature in 1963 and earned his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1966.

Among his many career milestones, Days worked as the First Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and as Solicitor General of the United States from 1993 to 1996.

Days joined the faculty at Yale in 1981, where he taught in the fields of civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, Supreme Court practice, antidiscrimination law, and constitutional law, and was founding director of the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights. He was named Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law in 1991. In 2003, Days received the Award of Merit from the Yale Law School Association in recognition of his public service and contributions to law.

“Drew has always been a guardian of this community, and it seems very fitting that he will forever watch over this place, the hallways that he walked, the students that he taught and the colleagues that he loved,” Gerken said of the new portrait. 

The portrait was commissioned by Ann Langdon-Days and many friends and colleagues at Yale Law School and was painted by artist Steven Brennan.