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Penn Law community mourns loss of Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr.

January 11, 2018

Hazard, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, died on January 11, 2018, at the age of 88.

Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, died on January 11, 2018, at the age of 88.

Hazard served as Trustee Professor of Law at Penn Law for 15 years, from 1994 to 2009, and he was a leading figure in the fields of civil procedure, judicial administration, and legal ethics. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn Law, he was a law professor at Yale, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, he joined the faculty of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, though he continued to regularly teach courses on advanced federal procedure at Penn Law.

“Professor Hazard was a true giant in American law,” said Ted Ruger, Dean of the Law School and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “In addition to making a lasting impact on the fields of civil procedure and legal ethics, he was an eminent member of the Penn Law community and the broader legal academy and a devoted teacher and mentor. He will be deeply missed.”

“Geoff Hazard was a gifted scholar, teacher, institutional leader, and citizen,” said Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice. “A lawyer of immense and various talents and interests, he was as comfortable excavating the etiology of complex procedural doctrines as he was negotiating the drafting compromises necessary to achieve consensus on court rules or legislation.”

Burbank added: “Geoff was a true public intellectual, a supremely effective pragmatist who preferred a life of active involvement to the leisure of the theory class. Rarely has a single lawyer achieved such distinction in so many roles, and rarely has the administration of justice had such an incisive and knowledgeable champion working for its benefit in so many ways. I was proud to have Geoff as a colleague. He will always be my mentor and friend.”

Hazard coauthored leading treatises and casebooks on civil procedure – Civil Procedure (6th ed. forthcoming 2018, with John Leubsdorf & Debra Lyn Bassett); Pleading and Procedure: Cases and Materials (11th ed. 2015, with William A. Fletcher, Stephen McG. Bundy, & Andrew D. Bradt) – and professional ethics – The Law of Lawyering (4th ed. 2015, with W. William Hodes & Peter R. Jarvis); The Law and Ethics of Lawyering (6th ed. 2017, with Susan P. Koniak, Roger C. Cramton, George M. Cohen, & W. Bradley Wendel). His other writings spanned a broad range of topics, including civil procedure for international commercial disputes; joinder, including class actions and discovery; and legal ethics, particularly comparing the ethics practices of lawyers in modern industrialized nations.

From 1984 to 1999, he served as the Director of the American Law Institute, the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law.

“Geoff Hazard played a foundational role in the past half-century of civil procedure and legal ethics,” said Catherine Struve, Professor of Law. “He was a beloved and revered counselor to the federal procedural rulemaking committees and the American Law Institute (having led the ALI for 15 years as its Director). He was a brilliant, kind, and generous teacher, not only of law students but of his junior colleagues, including me.”

Raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, Hazard graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College in 1953, and, in 1954, he received his LLB from Columbia University, where he served on the Columbia Law Review.

His numerous awards included the ABA Michael Franck Award in Professional Responsibility; the American Bar Foundation Research Award and William Keck Foundation Award; the Columbia University School of Law Association Medal for Excellence; the American Judicature Society’s Outstanding Contributions to Promoting Effective Administration of Justice; the ceremony of Salute, Superior Court of Pennsylvania; the International Insolvency Institute Gold Award; and the ABA Robert J. Kutak Award; as well as seven honorary degrees.

“Few lawyers in the last half century have had a more profound impact on the state of the law than Geoff Hazard,” wrote Judge Anthony Scirica in a 2010 tribute in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. “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 the law’s wise men.”

Information for a memorial service at Penn Law honoring Professor Hazard’s life and work will be forthcoming.


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