Professor Carol Steiker ’86, the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Steiker specializes in the broad field of criminal justice, where her work ranges from substantive criminal law to criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on capital punishment.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors exceptional individuals and leadership in academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research.

In addition to Steiker, this year’s 269 newly elected members include 17 Harvard University faculty, and Harvard Law alums Morgan Chu ’76, a partner at Irell & Manella and Susan S. Wallach ’71, former special counsel at Schulte Roth & Zabel. New members will be inducted at a ceremony later this year.

Among this year’s recipients is Academy-award winning actress, advocate, and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh, who will be Harvard Law School’s Class Day speaker this year on May 24.

“With the election of these members, the academy is honoring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” said AAA&S President David W. Oxtoby. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.”

Steiker’s most recent books, both co-edited with her brother Jordan Steiker ’88, are “Comparative Capital Punishment,” (Edward Elgar 2019) and “Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment,” (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2016).

Steiker serves as the Dean’s Special Advisor for Public Service. She also served as faculty co-director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Policy Program from 2015-2020.

In addition to her scholarly work, Steiker has done pro bono work for indigent criminal defendants, including death penalty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and she was appointed to the board of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the statewide public defender for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has served as a consultant and expert witness on issues of criminal justice and capital punishment for non-profit organizations and has testified before Congress and state legislatures.

A 1986 graduate of Harvard Law School, Steiker served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the second woman to hold that position in its then 99-year history. After clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, she worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent defendants at all stages of the criminal process.

Other members of the Harvard Law faculty who have been selected as fellows in previous years, include: Guy-Uriel E. Charles, David J. Barron ’94, Lucian Bebchuk LL.M. ’80 S.J.D. ’84, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Victor Brudney, Robert Clark ’72, Richard Fallon, Noah Feldman, Roger Fisher LL.B. ’48, Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95, Charles Fried, Nancy Gertner, Mary Ann Glendon, Jack Goldsmith, Annette Gordon-Reed ’84, Charles Haar LL.B. ’48, Morton Horwitz LL.B. ’67, Vicki Jackson, Elena Kagan ’86, Benjamin Kaplan, Louis Kaplow ’81, Duncan Kennedy, Randall Kennedy, Michael Klarman, John F. Manning ’85, Daniel Meltzer ’75, Frank Michelman LL.B. ’60, Martha Minow, Robert Mnookin LL.B. ’68, Gerald L. Neuman ’80, Mark Roe ’75, Steven Shavell, William Stuntz , Cass Sunstein ’78, Laurence Tribe ’66, Mark Tushnet, Roberto Mangabeira Unger LL.M. ’70 S.J.D. ’76, Adrian Vermeule ’93, Elizabeth Warren, David Wilkins ’80 and Jonathan Zittrain ’95.

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