This May, Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hazard celebrates his 50th year as a member of the American Law Institute, the leading U.S. independent organization producing scholarly professional work to "clarify, modernize and improve" the law.
A renowned scholar in the areas of civil procedure, federal jurisdiction and professional ethics, Professor Hazard was also Director of the American Law Institute from 1984-1999. He had previously been a Reporter for the ALI Restatement Second of Judgments. In 2013, Professor Hazard was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Institute with the Distinguished Service Award.
Professor Hazard calls his time with the ALI “the most challenging, interesting and fulfilling job I have had.” He went on to explain: “I held that job for 15 years, directing the Restatement of Law Governing Lawyers and the Principles of Corporate Governance. The projects involved intimate discussions with excellent judges, lawyers and academics.” Thrilled to be able to witness the in-depth discussions of practitioners and legal experts, Hazard credits his time with the ALI for what other faculty recognize as his prodigious understanding of most areas of American law.
Dean Mary Kay Kane reflected on Professor Hazard’s participation in the ALI. “Watching Geoff at an annual ALI meeting or at various adviser’s meetings was to see a master at work,” she said. “When matters became most contentious, he would sit quietly and listen and then, when the positions of the participants seemed worlds apart, he would lean in and suggest how positions could be reconciled, language altered, and new approaches taken to ensure that the project moved forward with the maximum support. His understanding of the law across so many fields and his ability to conceptualize and articulate how to capture complex and nuanced arguments is simply unparalleled.”
Upon his “retirement” from UC Hastings, colleagues showered him with accolades. Richard Marcus, Distinguished Professor of Law, noted Hazard was a “giant” in multiple fields. “I'm tempted to say that he's a latter-day version of Aristotle, who was said to have been ‘the last man who knew everything.’ Geoff is likely the last person who could come close to knowing "everything" about American law. And he surely knows almost everything about procedure and professional responsibility. Nobody can proceed very far into those subjects without consulting, citing, and relying on Hazard.”
Professor Hazard has taught at law schools since 1958, beginning at Boalt Hall (University of California, Berkeley), then the University of Chicago, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been Trustee Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania, and Sterling Professor of Law Emeritus at Yale. He is coauthor of a treatise and a casebook in civil procedure and also in professional ethics. He is author or coauthor of 16 books and many articles. He is frequently an expert witness or consultant in professional ethics, including legal malpractice
But his expertise isn’t just in American law. Over the past six years or so, Professor Hazard worked with his Italian colleague, Michele Taruffo, Professor of Law in the School of Law of the University of Pavia, to prepare a code of procedure that would be intelligible and useful in either a common law or civil law system, something that had never been done before. Many were skeptical that this could be accomplished, but Hazard and Taruffo were able to compile the Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, which quickly became a component of comparative law books because, Hazard said, “It was the only source on the subject.” Two years ago. a new organization called the European Law Institute was founded, inspired by the ALI. European lawyers, judges and academics, have taken on the project of compiling a code of civil procedure using the transnational rules as a model. Not one accustomed to retirement, Hazard is on their advisory committee, taking an active role, as he’s always done.
UC Hastings congratulates Professor Hazard on his five decades of service to the American Law Institute.
In other ALI News, Professors Robin Cooper Feldman and William S. Dodge have also recently been chosen to serve as Advisers on new projects recently launched by The American Law Institute titled Restatement of the Law, Copyright (which Professor Feldman will serve as an Adviser on), and Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws (which Professor Dodge will serve as an Adviser on).
The Advisers on an ALI project are selected for their particular knowledge and experience of the subject or the special perspective they are able to provide. They are designated by the Institute's Director, in consultation with the Reporter and subject to approval of the ALI Council or Executive Committee. As a group, the Advisers on a project constitute an intellectually and geographically diverse collection of practitioners, judges, and scholars.
UC HASTINGS FACULTY ELECTED INTO THE AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE INCLUDE: