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Leading scholar joins Harvard Law faculty

CASS R. SUNSTEIN CASS R. SUNSTEIN
Email|Print| Text size + By Peter Schworm
Globe Staff / February 20, 2008

Harvard Law School has scored a major academic coup, luring renowned legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein from the University of Chicago Law School to join its star-studded faculty.

Sunstein, who graduated from Harvard College in 1975 and Harvard Law School in 1978, will begin teaching in the fall and direct the new Program on Risk Regulation, which will focus on how law and policy deal with such hazards as terrorism, climate change, and natural disasters.

"Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time, the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential," Elena Kagan, dean of the Harvard Law School, said in a statement released yesterday.

"His work in any one of the fields he pursues - administrative law and policy, constitutional law and theory, behavioral economics and law, environmental law, to name a nonexhaustive few - would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars," Kagan said.

Sunstein, the author of more than 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, said in a statement that the new program would rely on substantial student involvement.

"The nation and the world are facing many unanticipated problems, and policymakers must find ways to protect people from risks without creating unanticipated side-effects," Sunstein said.

"Our goals are to improve our sense of what the law is now doing and to see how it might do better."

After law school, Sunstein clerked for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Supreme Judicial Court and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the US Supreme Court. Sunstein joined the University of Chicago Law School faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor.

His books include "Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech," "Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America," and "Are Judges Political? An Empirical Analysis of the Federal Judiciary."

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