David A. Charney

Credit: Martha Stewart David A. Charney

Employment and corporate law specialist David A. Charny, the David Berg Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, died unexpectedly, after a brief illness, on August 31, 2000. He was 44.

“All of us at Harvard Law School are shocked and saddened by David Charny’s death,” said Dean Robert Clark. “David was a genius—a brilliant scholar and a wonderful teacher. He has left us much too soon.”

Charny was born on September 16, 1955, in Pittsburgh. He received an A.B. summa cum laude, with exceptional distinction, in 1977 from Yale University, and a J.D. magna cum laude in 1982 from Harvard Law School. He served as law clerk to Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1982 to 1983 and to the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. from 1983 to 1984.

He joined the Harvard faculty in 1984 as assistant professor of law, became professor of law in 1991, and was named the David Berg Professor of Law in 1999. His research interests included comparative aspects of corporate law, employment law, health care regulation, and public choice theory. Charny taught many courses, including Contracts, Corporations, Law and Moral Decision-Making, Legal Theory, and Employment Law.

His publications included “Workers and Corporate Governance: The Role of Political Culture,” in The Employee and Corporate Governance (Brookings Institution, 1999); “Efficiency Wages, Tournaments, and Discrimination: A Theory of Employment Discrimination for ‘High-Level’ Jobs,” 33 Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review 57 (1998); “Illusions of a Spontaneous Order: ‘Norms’ in Contractual Relationships,” 144 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1841 (1996); and “The Employee Welfare State in Transition,” 74 Texas Law Review 1601 (1996).

A memorial service will be held in the Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, on October 26.