UC Hastings Professor Geoffrey Hazard was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the American Law Institute at its 90th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 21. Professor Hazard served as the Director of the ALI for fifteen years, from 1984-1999. The ALI is the leading U.S. independent organization producing scholarly professional work to "clarify, modernize and improve" the law.
Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu nominated Professor Hazard for the award. “Professor Hazard has had and continues to have the most distinguished career in legal education,” said Wu, “and I could not think of anyone who would be more deserving. In addition to Geoff’s tremendous contributions as a scholar and teacher, he has been the exemplar of a writer who influences the world around him.”
Academic Research Dean William S. Dodge also wrote in support of the award, observing that Professor Hazard had not retired into the Distinguished Chair he assumed at UC Hastings in 2005, but continued to be an active scholar and made great contributions to the College in both teaching and service, particularly in the area of curricular reform. Professor Hazard’s exceptional contributions to the ALI and to UC Hastings, Professor Dodge said, are simply the “ordinary contributions of an exceptional person.”
Professor Hazard began teaching in 1958 and led the development of scholarship in his fields. Over his career, Hazard has been responsible for instilling ethics in thousands of young lawyers, over several generations, and served as an inspiration and mentor to dozens of younger law professors. Among Hazard’s 16 books are treatises that serve as mainstays in American legal education. In addition to his books, he also served as Reporter for the Restatement (Second) of Judgments. He was Reporter for the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct (promulgated in 1983) and draftsman-consultant for the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct (promulgated in 1972).
Throughout his long career, Hazard has been extraordinarily generous with his time and talents, willing to spend time with students and address smaller groups as often as he spoke to hundreds of people at national gatherings. As one of the nation’s leading lights on legal ethics, he was sought after as an expert witness and consultant. And yet he also was readily available to reporters, helping them understand issues and parse legal conduct, thus, constantly teaching both lawyers and laypersons.
The ALI’s Distinguished Service Award is given from time to time to a member who over many years has played a major role in the Institute as an institution, accepting significant burdens as an officer or committee chair and helping keep the Institute on a steady course as the greatest private law-reform organization in the world. The last recipient was Michael Traynor, who was honored in 2011. Professor Hazard is only the fifth recipient of the award since its inception.
UC Hastings faculty elected into the American Law Institute include: