USD School of Law Professor Jorge Vargas Passes Away May 5, Leaves Legacy of Introducing Mexican Law into Academic Circles and U.S. Courts

Professor Jorge Vargas Passes Away May 5, Leaves Legacy of Introducing Mexican Law into Academic Circles and U.S. Courts

Professor Jorge Vargas

SAN DIEGO (May 14, 2019) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Jorge Vargas, 81, passed away peacefully on May 5 at his home. 

Vargas was born in Juarez, Mexico.  He was a lawyer, diplomat and professor of law.  His career allowed him to work in Mexico, the United States and internationally.  In 1967, he was granted a fellowship to the United Nations and was also a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Vargas later traveled the world with then President of Mexico, Luis Echeverria, as a personal advisor.  He was a member of the historical United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.  Vargas was a pioneer in the movement to protect Grey Whales, a cause he was passionate about both professionally and personally.  He toured elementary schools instilling the principles of environmental conservation.

In 1982, Vargas started what would become a 33-year career at USD School of Law in which he specialized in Mexican Law, Law of the Sea, and International Environmental Law.  “I realized that maybe the best contribution I could make was to introduce Mexican Law to the country, both in academic circles and also on the U.S. courts,” Vargas stated in the 2016 edition of the Advocate.  Vargas taught and wrote prolifically on the subject, resulting in 35 books and 73 articles in addition to the conferences he organized.  He developed the well-deserved reputation as the go-to-person for Mexican law, serving as a consultant for law firms across the country.  Vargas also served as an expert witness for the various courts around the country including commercial, criminal and civil ligation matters.  Vargas was pleased to educate American judges on Mexican law and render an opinion on technical legal questions.

Prior to his tenure at USD, Vargas practiced law in Mexico City, worked as a Mexican government official and served as a legal advisor for the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, the Fishing Department and the National Council on Science and Technology among others.  He received his law degree from National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1962 and earned his Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law from Yale in 1971.  Vargas was awarded a doctorate of Juridical Science (SJD) by the University of Virginia for his work and publication on Mexico’s legal contributions at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.  He retired at 77 and enjoyed water color painting and playing the piano. Services are not planned at this time.  He is survived by his wife, Lynda (nee) Patrick, two daughters, a son and two grandsons.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WildCoast (www.wildcoast) or the Lupus Foundation of America (

Click here to see the full article in the San Diego Union Tribune. 

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school's faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 29th nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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