The professor emeritus and influential arbiter of legal ethics shaped modern law

On Jan. 11, 2018, UC Hastings Thomas E. Miller Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus Geoffrey Hazard passed away at the age of 88.

Geoffrey Hazard
Geoffrey Hazard

Geoffrey will long be remembered as one of the leading minds in the development of the civil procedure and legal ethics fields. As Judge Anthony Scirica wrote in a 2010 tribute, “Few lawyers in the last half century have had a more profound impact on the state of the law than Geoff Hazard. And few have had the ability to bridge and connect the worlds of the academy, law practice, and the administration of justice. The commonweal has always been Geoff’s polestar. He is one of law’s wise men.”

Geoffrey began his legal career at a private practice in Oregon after graduating from Columbia Law School. He went on to have an illustrious career as a law school professor, teaching at UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and finally UC Hastings in 2009, where he remained until his retirement in 2013.

From 1984 to 1999, he also served as the director of the American Law Institute (ALI)—the leading independent organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law—and supervised the launch of the third series of the Restatements of the Law . In 2013, he was honored with ALI’s Distinguished Service Award for his work.

Geoffrey’s treatise Civil Procedure (5th ed. 2001, with Fleming James Jr. and John Leubsdorf) is still a standard text in legal classrooms across the country, as is his casebook Pleading and Procedure: State and Federal (9th ed. 2005, with Colin Tait, William A. Fletcher, and Stephen Bundy). Other notable works by the prolific scholar include The Law of Lawyering (4th ed. 2015, with W. William Hodes and Peter R. Jarvis) and The Law and Ethics of Lawyering (6th ed. 2017, with Susan P. Koniak, Roger C. Cramton, George M. Cohen, and W. Bradley Wendel).

Few lawyers in the last half century have had a more profound impact on the state of the law than Geoff Hazard.”

Geoffrey is survived by his wife, four children, five stepchildren, 24 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

“[Geoff] was a deeply inspiring teacher, a mentor to many generations of students and faculty, an enormously influential scholar, and a dear friend to so many of us,” said Chancellor & Dean David Faigman. “He will be greatly missed.”