Miami Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Walter Beckham


Walter H. Beckham, former Miami Law professor and trial attorney, died Tuesday at his home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Beckham, who served as a professor of law from 1968-1982, was a legendary and much-loved torts teacher at Miami Law. A combat veteran of the World War II U.S. Navy and Harvard University Law School graduate, Beckham became one of the Florida Bar Association's 151 charter members in 1949. He worked for two prestigious law firms – Dixon, DeJarnette and Bradford, then Nichols, Gaither & Green – before becoming of counsel to Podhurst Orseck, P.A. in 1967.

Beckham recently finished serving a three-year term as Secretary of the American Bar Association, capping a distinguished legal career that spanned fifty years. He served as president of the Metropolitan Miami YMCA, president of the Dade County Crippled Children's Society, and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Beckham also served as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, The American College of Trial Lawyers, and the National Board of Trial Advocacy, as well as past president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and a member or officer of countless other bar groups. He also served as chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Judicial College. He is a retired Captain of the United States Naval Reserves.

Along with his wife Ethel, Beckham established a scholarship at the School of Law – the Walter and Ethel Beckham Scholarship – for students enrolled in the J.D. Program.

The memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 11th at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables (536 Coral Way). Burial will be at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery North (S.W. 8th Street @ S.W. 34th Avenue, Miami). Following the services, the family will receive friends at the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables for a reception. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make a donation to the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada where Beckham set up a scholarship fund in his name to assist South Florida judges in attending the college.