Dean of Yale Law School Harold Hongju Koh ’80 has been named legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State, President Barack Obama ’91 has announced. Kate Stith ’77 has been appointed acting dean of Yale Law School.

Koh, a leader in the field of international law, national security law and human rights, will provide counsel to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. embassies around the world. During the Clinton administration, he served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor from 1998 to 2001. He was also a member of the secretary of state’s advisory committee on public international law. In the 1980s, he practiced at Covington & Burling, and served in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

Since 2004, Koh has served as dean of Yale Law School, where he has been on the faculty since 1985. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, he is author or co-author of eight books, including “Transnational Litigation in United States Courts, Foundations of International Law and Politics (with O. Hathaway).”

Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law at Yale, will begin serving as acting dean immediately, and will hold the position until a permanent successor to Koh appointed.

Stith joined the Yale law faculty as an associate professor in 1985, after having served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. For three years, she served as Yale’s deputy dean under Dean Anthony T. Kronman and she currently chairs the school’s budget committee. Last year, she chaired the faculty committee that reviewed all aspects of the school’s operation.

She is a leader in the developing field of sentencing law and 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. 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.