Yale Law School Establishes Professorship, Public Interest Fund and Fellowship Honoring Arthur Liman

The friends of Arthur Liman have endowed a chair at Yale Law School in his honor, Dean Anthony Kronman announced today. In addition, an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fund and Fellowship has been endowed at over $1 million, “to carry forward the purposes and values reflected in Arthur Liman’s profound and longstanding commitment to law in the public interest.”

Mr. Liman, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1957, is a partner with the New York City firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. A leader of both the public and private bar for decades, he gained nationwide attention as chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica after the 1971 prison riot and, in 1987, as Senate counsel to the Iran-Contra Committee, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. He currently chairs the Legal Action Center of the City of New York and the New York State Capital Defender’s Office.

He has served as president of the Legal Aid Society of New York City and the Neighborhood Defense Service of Harlem; chair of the N.Y.C. Board of Investigation of the Medical Examiner’s Office and N.Y.C. Mayor David Dinkins’s appointments committee; and as a member of city, state, and national boards and commissions too numerous to list.

“To me,” Mr. Liman has written, “having a successful career in private practice was more than a matter of earning a good living. It gave me the independence when I took public assignments to do what I believed was right.”

The Liman Professorship is to be held “by a teacher who exemplifies in his or her teaching, scholarship, and professional life the qualities of independence and integrity that Arthur Liman has demonstrated throughout his career as a trial lawyer, a counselor, and a devoted servant of the public good.”

The Liman Public Interest Fund and Fellowship will provide full support for a position in the field of public interest law to at least one recent Yale Law School graduate every year. Liman Fellows will work in public interest organizations or programs throughout the world. This support will be augmented by grants for public interest programs and projects both within and outside the law school.

Mr. Liman writes, “As a young, eager, frightened, and idealistic student at Yale Law School in 1954, in awe of figures like Harry Schulman, Fritz Kessler, and other giants, it never would have occurred to me that someday a professorship would carry my name, or that a fellowship in my honor might facilitate public service by a young graduate.”

“I know Arthur feels that his Yale Law School education provided him with role models of lawyers who combined careers in private practice and public service, and with a training based on humanistic legal values,” says Dean Kronman. “It is wonderful that we can now honor Mr. Liman in this way and thus hold him up as an outstanding model for current and future Yale Law students.”

For further information, contact Toni Hahn Davis, assistant dean for public affairs at Yale Law School, 203/432-1655.


Arthur Liman was born in New York City on November 5, 1932. He received his A.B. from Harvard University in 1954, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated first in his class at Yale Law School in 1957.

He joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as an associate upon graduation, but left to work as assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1961 to 1963 and again, briefly, as special assistant to U.S. Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau for a securities fraud trial. He has been a partner with the firm since 1966.

Mr. Liman has had a long record of public service. In 1972, he was chief counsel to the New York State special commission on the Attica prison uprising. In 1987, he served as chief counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, the Iran-Contra Committee. From 1983 to 1985, he was a member of the New York State Executive Advisory Committee on Sentencing, appointed by Governor Cuomo to recommend revisions of New York State’s system for sentencing offenders. Prior to that, he was chairman of Governor Carey’s Executive Committee on the Administration of Justice. He was Chairman of the Appointments Committee for New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and was chairman of a panel appointed by Mayor Ed Koch to investigate the conduct of the medical examiner’s office.

He was a member of Harvard University’s Board of Overseers from 1988 to 1994. He has been a member of various professional committees, including the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York and the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference. He is also a past president of the Legal Aid Society of New York.

He is on the board of directors of the Continental Grain Company, the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, and the Museum of Television and Radio.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325