On March 1, interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber announced that John F. Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, would take a leave from leading the law school to serve as interim university provost, and that John C.P. Goldberg, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, would take on the role of interim law school dean, beginning March 18. Garber praised Manning as an outstanding dean, eminent scholar of public law, and trusted adviser. “He is an ideal individual to advance several key university initiatives, including forthcoming efforts to explore institutional neutrality and how best to nurture an atmosphere of open inquiry, respectful dialogue, and academic freedom essential to academic excellence,” he said.

“I am grateful to interim President Garber for the opportunity to serve Harvard as interim provost,” said Manning. “Harvard enabled me, as a first-gen student, to live a life that neither my parents nor theirs could have dreamed of. It feels so important at this critical time for those who love this institution to be there to help.”

Garber also expressed admiration for Goldberg’s integrity, generosity, rigorous academic work, and broad institutional service, and gratitude for his willingness to take on the interim law school deanship. “I have benefited from John’s thoughtful counsel through his participation on the Provost’s Advisory Committee and look forward to collaborating with him more closely,” he said.

“It’s truly an honor to be asked by President Garber to serve as interim dean of Harvard Law School,” said Goldberg. “During this period, I will, in the spirit of Dean Manning, do everything I can to support our amazing students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

Interim Dean John Goldberg

A leading scholar in tort law, private law, and legal theory and a member of the law faculty since 2008, Goldberg previously served as deputy dean from 2017 to 2022. During that time, he worked closely with Manning on overseeing curricular reform, developing the school’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other initiatives. 

“The entire law school community is lucky to have the highly respected John Goldberg at the helm right now,” said Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor and former Harvard Law dean. “He brings not only extensive knowledge and experience in law school administration, but also award-winning scholarship in legal philosophy and torts, great wisdom sought both within and beyond the legal profession, the energy of a top tennis player, and a fine sense of humor.”

Recognized for his dedication to teaching and mentoring, Goldberg has taught numerous first-year and upper-level courses, including Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. Before joining the Harvard faculty, he taught and served as associate dean for research at Vanderbilt Law School.

As well as serving as deputy dean and a member of the Provost’s Advisory Committee, Goldberg was  first chair of the university’s Electronic Communications Policy Oversight Committee. Within the law school, he has been heavily involved in appointments and other matters. 

“In addition to being an outstanding scholar in his own right,” said Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, “John Goldberg has shown himself to be one of those pillars of the community who can be relied on to do the unglamorous work that is often overlooked but absolutely essential. He will be a thoughtful, skillful, inspiring leader of the law school.” 

Goldberg also serves as an associate reporter for the American Law Institute’s Fourth Restatement of Property, an adviser to the Third Restatement of Torts, and a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Legal Analysis, and is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Tort Law and the journal Legal Theory. 

Before entering the legal academy, Goldberg clerked for Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York and for Supreme Court Justice Byron White. He earned a B.A. from Wesleyan, an M.Phil. in politics from Oxford, an M.A. in politics from Princeton, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the NYU Law Review.