Heather Gerken named the Goldman Professor of Law

Heather Gerken
Heather Gerken

Heather K. Gerken, newly named as the Sol and Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional law and election law. Her appointment will be effective July 1.

Also on July 1, Gerken will assume the deanship of the Yale Law School, serving as the 17th dean of the school.

At the Yale Law School, Gerken founded and runs the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project, considered the country’s most innovative clinic in local government law. She teaches advanced topics in election law, and her work focuses on federalism, diversity, and dissent. As a teacher, Gerken has won awards at both Yale and Harvard. She was named one of the nation’s “26 best law teachers” in a book published by the Harvard University Press.

A graduate of Princeton University, Gerken earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit and Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court. She then served as an appellate lawyer in Washington, D.C., before joining the Harvard Law School faculty in 2000. Gerken came to Yale in 2006 and was named the inaugural J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law in 2008.

The Yale professor has written for the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the Stanford Law Review, as well as numerous popular publications. Her work has been the subject of four symposia, and she has served as a commentator for a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC News. Gerken served as a senior adviser to the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012. In 2013, her proposal for creating a “Democracy Index” — a national ranking of election systems — was adopted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which created the nation’s first Election Performance Index. She has been featured in the National Law Journal for balancing teaching and research, won a Green Bag award for legal writing, and has testified before the U.S. Senate three times. Gerken is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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