Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr.
Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr., Director Emeritus of The American Law Institute and one of the most brilliant legal scholars and teachers of his generation, died in January 2018. He was 88.
One of the nation’s foremost authorities on professional ethics, trial practice, and civil procedure, Professor Hazard was the Thomas E. Miller Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He was also Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Sterling Professor of Law Emeritus at Yale Law School.
When Professor Hazard received the Institute’s Distinguished Service Award at the May 2013 Annual Meeting, his former student and research assistant at Yale, Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., took time from a busy schedule to speak in Professor Hazard’s honor, sharing memories of his student days. On presenting the award, given from time to time to a member who over many years has accepted significant responsibilities and played a major role in the Institute as an institution, Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit succinctly captured the astounding breadth of Professor Hazard’s career:
Law professor at several great law schools, prolific scholar, author of textbooks, legendary teacher, mentor, rulemaker of procedural rules and rules of attorney conduct, and, of course, the former Director of The American Law Institute, Geoff continues to leave an indelible imprint on the American and international legal systems. He is truly one of the law’s wise men.
An ALI member for 52 years, Professor Hazard served for nine years as the Reporter for the Restatement Second of Judgments, published in 1982. The experience may have prompted his wry remark at the 1999 Annual Dinner that “qualifications for Reporter in an ALI project include good health and proven stamina.” He succeeded Herbert Wechsler as ALI’s fourth director in 1984, skillfully guiding the ALI’s already-begun Principles of Corporate Governance and Restatement Third of Foreign Relations Law to completion. Many new ALI projects were begun under his leadership, including Restatement Third works on Agency, The Law Governing Lawyers, Property, Restitution, Suretyship, Torts, Trusts, and Unfair Competition; and Principles of the Law projects on Family Dissolution, Transnational Civil Procedure, and Transnational Insolvency. It was also during his tenure as director that the Institute first turned its attention to projects with an international scope, a trend that continues today with its ongoing work on international commercial arbitration, foreign relations law, and conflict of laws. On stepping down as director after 15 years, Professor Hazard was elected to ALI’s Council in 1999, serving until he took emeritus status in August 2015. He also was Co-Reporter for the ALI/UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure (2006), which has become a path-breaking model of civil procedure for international commercial disputes.
Born in Cleveland, Professor Hazard was a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia Law School, where he was Reviews Editor of the Columbia Law Review. He began his career in private practice in Oregon, serving also as deputy legislative counsel for the State of Oregon and executive secretary of the Oregon Interim Committee on Judicial Administration. Professor Hazard’s teaching career spanned almost six decades, beginning at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, in 1958, then at the University of Chicago Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
While at Chicago, Professor Hazard was also executive director of the American Bar Foundation. During his tenure at Yale, he served variously as associate, acting, and deputy dean of the Yale School of Organization and Management. He also 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). He served since 1994 as a member and a consultant on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, Judicial Conference of the United States. In recent years, he advised the European Law Institute on its proposal to develop European rules of civil procedure from the ALI/UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure. Notwithstanding his many professional interests and responsibilities, Professor Hazard found time to serve as a consultant and expert witness on legal ethics, including legal malpractice, and to write. He was coauthor of a fundamental treatise and a casebook on civil procedure and also on professional ethics, as well as the author or coauthor of many other books and articles.
Professor Hazard was the recipient of several honorary degrees and many awards, including the American Bar Foundation Research Award and William Keck Foundation Award, the Columbia Law School Medal for Excellence, the American Judicature Society Justice Award, the International Insolvency Institute Gold Medal, the ABA Section of Legal Education Robert J. Kutak Award, and the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Michael Franck Award. On January 5, 2018, Columbia Law School bestowed on him its Distinguished Columbian in Teaching Award, given to a law school graduate for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and writing — an honor, said Dean Gillian Lester, that he earned "many times over" in his long, illustrious career. He was a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Professor Hazard bequeathed $20,000 to ALI, to carry on the Institute’s work into our next century. We are grateful not only for this contribution, but also for his immeasurable contributions and tireless leadership of the Institute.