President Richard C. Levin has named Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law, as Acting Dean of Yale Law School. Stith succeeds Harold Hongju Koh, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama as Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.
In his 24 years at Yale Law School, including the last five as dean, Koh has been a leader in the field of international law, and he has been one of the school’s most popular teachers.
“He has brought spirit to every corner of the School, secured resources for its advancement, and pointed it toward 21st century commitments to globalization, public service, closer ties to the profession, and renewal of its faculty and resources,” Levin said. “I know that the entire Law School community will salute Dean Koh as he prepares to make an important contribution to the nation and the world.”
Stith, a highly respected scholar, teacher, and colleague both at the Law School and in the broader University, will serve until a successor to Koh is appointed.
“I am delighted and grateful that she is willing to take on this transitional leadership role at the Law School at such an important moment,” Levin said.
Stith served as deputy dean for three years during the deanship of Anthony T. Kronman and currently chairs the school’s budget committee. Last year, she chaired the faculty committee that reviewed all aspects of the school’s operation.
Stith teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law and procedure, comparative criminal law, criminal sentencing, federal criminal prosecution, university governance, government ethics, and congressional budget law. She was the principal author of “Fear of Judging: Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts,” which was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Bar Association.
Stith is a leader in developing the field of sentencing law, which is at the intersection of substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law, and comparative criminal law. Her current projects include co-authorship of a textbook on federal criminal law and a textbook on criminal procedure. She is an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s “Model Penal Code: Sentencing” project, and previously served, by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States, on the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference. She also serves on the board of advisors of several scholarly journals. She was appointed by the Governor of Connecticut as a member of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and is a past president of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. She is a member of the American Law Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations, and served as a Trustee of Dartmouth College for more than a decade.
Stith joined Yale Law School as an Associate Professor of Law in 1985, after having served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted white-collar and organized crime. She previously was on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, a special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, and a law clerk to Judge Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court. She became Professor of Law in 1991, and the Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law in 1998. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Harvard Law School.
To learn more about Harold Hongju Koh's nomination, read the White House press release.