The Law School community mourns the loss of beloved alumna, colleague, and friend Erica Fine, who passed away suddenly last weekend.
A 1982 graduate and an integral part of the St. John’s Law family for decades, Erica was a constant presence on campus during her long career at BarBri Bar Review, where she worked in various leadership roles, including Eastern Region Vice President, Eastern Region Senior Associate Director, and Eastern Region Editorial Director. In addition to her day-to-day managerial and promotional responsibilities, Erica lectured for BarBri on Wills and essay writing and tutored and counseled generations of law students through the bar exam process.
Just as she was generous with her time and talents at BarBri, Erica was a big-hearted alumna who gave back to alma mater in so many ways. She offered guidance as a member of the St. John’s Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. And, with her characteristic enthusiasm, she helped to launch the Law School’s annual Public Interest Auction, which raises funds for summer fellowships and other public interest initiatives. This year marked the Auction’s 25th anniversary, and Erica was celebrated for her founding vision and for her generous contributions year after year.
Erica’s dedication to St. John’s is also manifest in the Fine Family Scholarship Fund and the Class of 1982 Scholarship Fund, which are now part of her enduring legacy. She also leaves a legacy as a teacher, mentor, and energetic presence in Finley and Belson Halls. In 2013, Erica brought her professional talents home when she joined the Law School team that teaches Applied Legal Analysis (ALA), a role she continued to fill with enthusiasm throughout the pandemic. As her ALA teaching colleague Rachel Paras ’04 shares, Erica made a difference in, and touched the lives of, many at and beyond St. John’s:
Erica was a tiny, but mighty, force of nature. Anyone who was lucky enough to be in the white-hot glow of her affection knew it was a really good place to be. All of her students, friends, and colleagues at St John’s Law got to experience that feeling and we are all better for having known her. Thousands of alumni owe their success on the bar exam directly to Professor Fine. There will never be anyone else like Erica and I hope we honor her legacy by always leading from the heart, striving for success, and giving until it hurts. I was fortunate enough to have worked alongside Erica the past four years teaching ALA. I, and the entire St. John’s family, will miss her beyond measure.
Christopher Eisenhardt ’16 first met Erica when he worked at BarBri, and they continued to forge a friendship at St. John’s. It was a formative connection and now, with its loss, Chris makes clear how much Erica means to him and other young alumni:
Erica Fine was, and will always be, one of my closest friends. I am truly heartbroken over her passing. I will forever be grateful to have had a friend and mentor like Erica who always put others before herself. She was a force to be reckoned with, and I know she has made an impact just as deep on our St. John’s Law community as a whole. I hope I can be half as good of a person as Erica was—she truly was a bright soul that continues to shine through each of us.
For her unwavering commitment to St. John’s Law, its students, and its mission, Erica received the Pietas Medal, one of the highest honors bestowed by St. John’s University, as well as the Law School’s Belson Medal. She was proud of those honors. But perhaps her greatest pride came from being a member of the Class of 1982. As the reliable class correspondent, a tireless event organizer, and the person everyone sought out at those events, Erica showed her classmates time and again how much they meant to her. The feeling was mutual. Here are just a few of her classmates’ reflections in the wake of Erica’s passing:
Erica had a way of talking to you that made you feel like you were her best friend. She had A LOT of best friends. She was our glue and now she’s gone. I am very sad. – Michael Rabus
Very sad indeed. Erica was a gracious and humble human being and incredibly generous. She will be missed immensely but especially by the Class of ’82. She was our rock. – Sandy Guiducci
Erica truly held us together. – Jan Robinson
It will never be the same without her. – Tom Cascione
As Dean Michael A. Simons works with the Law School administration and Erica’s loved ones to envision and host a celebration* of her life, he reflects on a loss that impacts him personally and as the leader of the Law School that Erica held dear:
I’ve known Erica since the moment I joined the St. John’s Law faculty in 1998. She exemplified exactly what has made the St. John’s Law community so special: a deep devotion to our students as individuals and a dedication to their success—on the bar exam and beyond. It’s hard to imagine St. John’s Law without her, but it will be an honor to carry on her legacy of serving our students and building our community.
May Erica rest in peace, and may her memory be a blessing.
*End NoteMany have asked how they can honor Erica's life and legacy. One way is to support the newly established Erica B. Fine '82 Scholarship to benefit St. John's Law students. For more information about this giving opportunity, please contact Brian J. Woods at [email protected]