Academic Dean and Professor of Law


Academic Dean Morris Ratner (BA, Stanford University 1988; JD, Harvard Law School 1991) manages and supports the faculty and all academic programs, including clinics, centers, academic support, career development, and the legal writing program. In addition, he manages and supports associate and assistant deans responsible for degree programs or departments (e.g., Global Programs, the LLM, MSL, and HPL degrees, and the Library), oversees the Associate Academic Dean, and manages the classroom budget.

Consistent with the College’s mission and strategic plan and the vision of its Chancellor & Dean, Dean Ratner’s priorities include:

  • Creating a cohesive student experience from admission through graduation that prepares students for professional success;
  • Adapting the curriculum to anticipate technological and other changes in the practice of law;
  • Collaborating with faculty and staff to develop innovative teaching methods, courses, and co-curricular programming;
  • Supporting faculty research and faculty and staff professional development;
  • Integrating faculty, students, alumni, and the wider community in which UC Hastings is situated;
  • Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
  • Fostering a culture of continuous and evidence-based self-reflection and improvement.

Dean Ratner joined the UC Hastings Faculty in 2012 after teaching at Harvard Law School as a visiting lecturer and then as a visiting assistant professor from 2009 to 2011. He teaches civil procedure, legal ethics, and the business of law practice, and produces scholarship at the intersection of those fields.

While at UC Hastings, Dean Ratner has received multiple awards for his teaching and scholarship, including Student Choice Award for Professor of the Year (twice) and the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence, as well as the Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility awarded by the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility.

Dean Ratner was a litigator at the San Francisco-based plaintiffs’ firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, where he was a partner for ten years and where he prosecuted product liability, environmental, mass personal injury, consumer, and human rights actions. Among other high-profile matters, he prosecuted and settled Holocaust-era slave labor, looted asset, dormant bank account and unpaid insurance claims against European companies, producing global settlements in those cases worth more than $7.5 billion.



  1. Harvard Law School 1991

    J.D., Law

  2. Stanford University 1988

    B.A., Economics


  1. Selected Presenter, Vanderbilt Law School's Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program 2017 New Voices Workshop 2017

    The Branstetter Program supports research and curriculum in civil litigation and dispute resolution. Held annually, the Branstetter New Voices Workshop brings together junior scholars, senior scholars, and Vanderbilt faculty in the areas of civil justice. Each year, junior scholars are selected via a blind review process to present at the New Voices Workshop.

  2. Student Choice Award: Professor of the Year 2017

    Conferred by the Associated Students of UC Hastings College of the Law

  3. "Outstanding Contribution to UC Hastings" Award 2017

    Conferred by UC Hastings College of the Law

  4. Co-winner of the sixth annual Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility 2015 2015

    Awarded by the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility for Class Counsel as Litigation Funders, 28 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 271 (2015)

  5. Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence 2015-2016

    The William and Sally Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence - Outstanding Professor of the Year 2015-2016

  6. Student Choice Award: Professor of the Year 2015 2015

    Conferred by the Associated Students of UC Hastings

  7. Visionary Service Award 2014

    Conferred by the UC Hastings College of the Law Board of Trustees.

Selected Scholarship

  1. Class Conflicts 06/2017

    Washington Law Review (forthcoming 2017)

  2. Restraining Lawyers: From "Cases" to "Tasks" 03/2017

    Fordham Law Review (2017)

  3. Judicial Ethical Integrity: Challenges and Solutions 01/2016

    Hastings International & Comparative Law Review

  4. Class Counsel as Litigation Funders 03/2015

    Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

  5. Profit for Costs 05/2014

    DePaul Law Review

  6. Achieving Procedural Goals Through Indirection: The Use of Ethics Doctrine to Justify Contingency Fee Caps in MDL Aggregate Settlements 04/2012

    Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

  7. A New Model of Plaintiffs' Class Action Attorneys 08/2011

    Review of Litigation

  8. The Legacy of Holocaust Class Action Suits: Have They Broken Ground for Other Cases of Historical Wrongs? (with Caryn Becker) 01/2005

    Book chapter in Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Legacy (M. J. Bazyler & R. P. Alford, eds. 2005)

  9. Factors Impacting the Selection and Positioning of Human Rights Class Actions in United States Courts: A Practical Overview 01/2003

    New York University Annual Survey of American Law

  10. The Settlement of Nazi-Era Litigation Through the Executive and Judicial Branches 01/2002

    Berkeley Journal of International Law