FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013 - The American Law Institute has announced a transition in leadership.  Daniel J. Meltzer, the Story Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, was named Director Designate.   

Meltzer will work with ALI Director Lance Liebman until May 2014 when Liebman will complete his 15-year directorship.  The Nominating Committee of the ALI Council appointed Judge Diane P. Wood of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Gerhard Casper, President Emeritus of Stanford University, to work with ALI President Roberta Cooper Ramo as a search committee.  The search committee unanimously recommended Meltzer, whose selection was approved on Thursday by ALI's Council.   

"In our 90 years of working toward law reform, we have had only five Directors, and each one was a giant in the law," said ALI President Roberta Ramo.  "In Dan Meltzer, we have found another major legal figure to carry on this essential work of clarifying, modernizing, and improving the law."  

"I'm especially happy that Lance was enthusiastic about his successor," Ramo said, "and that he and Dan will have the benefit of working together as a team for a year to ensure that our fifteen ongoing law-reform projects continue without interruption."   

Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow said: "Dan Meltzer's superb judgment, analytic power, and devotion to public service grace Harvard Law School and now will also wonderfully advance the American Law Institute's vital projects improving law and legal administration for the public good." 

Meltzer recently served in the Office of White House Counsel where he advised President Obama on a wide range of issues including terrorism and healthcare reform, as well as preparation for the confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  After leaving that position, he was appointed as a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board and the Intelligence Oversight Board, on which he continues to serve.  He is also a co-author of recent editions of a classic casebook, Hart and Wechsler's The Federal Courts and the Federal System.   Liebman, a former dean of Columbia Law School, expanded ALI work and influence internationally and launched several dozen new law reform projects.  Within just the last year, the Institute began work on Restatements of The Law of Consumer Contracts and The Law of American Indians as well as revisions of the Sexual Assault provisions in the Model Penal Code.   

The role of the Director is to identify subjects for ALI work, recruit distinguished academics to serve as Reporters on those projects, and appoint judges, professors, and practicing lawyers as Advisers who assist the Reporters in formulating legal principles that are then helpful to judges and practicing lawyers, discussed and debated in academic literature, and taught to law students.  

Daniel Meltzer - Facts at a Glance:

  • A.B. in Economics from Harvard University, 1972
  • J.D. from Harvard Law School, 1975
  • President of the Harvard Law Review
  • Clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart after a clerkship for Judge Carl E. McGowan of the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1977-78
  • Three years in private practice with the District of Columbia firm of Williams & Connolly
  • Joined the faculty  of Harvard Law School in 1982
  • Promoted to full professor in 1987
  • Associate dean from 1989 to 1993
  • Named the Story Professor of Law in 1998  
  • Appointed Principal Deputy Counsel to President Barack Obama, January 2009
  • Married to Ellen Semonoff, the Assistant City Manager of Human Services for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts

About the American Law Institute

The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. The Institute-made up of more than 4,300 lawyers, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications-drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes, and principles of law that are enormously influential in U.S. courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education.  In recent years, more of its work has become international in scope.