Dr. John E. Murray (1932-2015) was widely regarded as the foremost authority in the United States on the law of contracts. He was the author of five editions of Murray on Contracts, a treatise used by law students and practicing attorneys across America and cited as authority in judicial opinions by numerous courts across America, including the United States Supreme Court. Dr. Murray was the co-author, with Timothy Murray, of the biannual supplements to the landmark multiple volume treatise Corbin on Contracts (Lexis Publishing) and Corbin on Contracts Desk Edition (Lexis Publishing 2017), a single-volume compendium of contract law. He wrote numerous books about contract law, including Sales, Leases and Electronic Commerce: Problems and Materials on National and International Transactions, (West Group, 4th ed. 2013) (co-authored with H. Flechtner), and numerous law review articles on contract and commercial law. He was a life member of the American Law Institute.
Dr. Murray was a partner at Murray, Hogue and Lannis. He represented or advised many of the best known commercial entities in the world in contract matters, including U.S. Steel, Alcoa, General Motors, Nissan, Bayer and Electrolux, among many others.
Dr. Murray also served as Chancellor and Professor of law at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He served as President of Duquesne University from 1988 to 2001, capping what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called an “extraordinary tenure” that set “a standard of excellence and achievement that is truly remarkable and may prove hard to equal.” (Post-Gazette, August 18, 2001.) The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote that some call the turnaround of Duquesne University under Dr. Murray's regime “the ‘miracle on the Bluff.’” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 20, 2005.) Dr. Murray previously served as Dean and Professor of law at both the University of Pittsburgh and Villanova University, and as acting Dean at Duquesne University’s School of Law.
In 2001, a building at Duquesne University’s School of Law was named in his honor, the Dr. John E. Murray, Jr. Pavilion. WQED and Pittsburgh Magazine named Dr. Murray one of the top 100 Pittsburghers of the 20th Century. A charismatic teacher, Dr. Murray was much in demand as a lecturer on contract law and civic matters. His extensive involvement in civic affairs included his chair of ComPAC 21 (Committee to Prepare Allegheny County for the 21st Century), whose recommendations led to reforming Allegheny County government and replacing the three commissioner governing body with a single county executive. In 2004, Dr. Murray was appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania to the five-member Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority to oversee the finances of the City of Pittsburgh. Dr. Murray chaired that oversight board, which helped bring fiscal responsibility to the City of Pittsburgh. He chaired Allegheny County’s United Way campaign, and served on numerous charitable, civic and corporate boards. He served on various corporate boards and received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including, among many others, honorary degrees from three universities; the Vectors/Pittsburgh Man of the Year Award; the Art Rooney Sr. Award; the B’nai B’rith Great American Award; the St. Thomas More Society Award, and the Leadership Award from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Red Cross.
Dr. Murray received his Juris Doctorate from Catholic University of America and his Doctorate of Juridical Science from the University of Wisconsin.