Bryant Garth, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California-Irvine School of Law, will become the Interim Director of the American Bar Foundation (ABF), effective September 1, 2022. He has agreed to remain Interim Director until the ongoing director search is successfully completed. Garth had previously served as Director of the ABF from 1990-2004, currently sits on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the “After the J.D.” project, and is an Affiliated Research Professor at ABF. He succeeds Ajay K. Mehrotra, who will stay with the ABF as a Research Professor and Professor of Law at Northwestern University.
As the Interim Director, Garth will be charged with building upon the distinction of the ABF as a premier institute for pathbreaking, interdisciplinary, empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. In Garth’s previous time as director, the ABF saw substantial growth in research on the legal profession, as well as groundbreaking research on inequality, the criminal justice system, and globalization. Garth helped launch the ABF’s hallmark study, “After the JD.”
Garth is also co-director of the Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession at the University of California-Irvine, and for the 2021-22 academic year, he served as the Interim Dean of the UCI Law School. He is a graduate of Yale (BA 1972), Stanford Law School (JD 1975), and the European University Institute in Florence (Ph.D. 1979).
His research focuses on the legal profession, the sociology of law, globalization, and legal education. Garth began his career working with Mauro Cappelletti on the Florence Access to Justice Project, which resulted in five published volumes. From there, he went on to publish a multitude of books, including Dealing in Virtue (1996), The Internationalization of Palace Wars (2002), Law as Reproduction and Revolution: An Interconnected History (2021), and most recently, The Globalization of Legal Education: A Critical Perspective (2022). His research has won multiple accolades, including two Herbert Jacob Book Prizes and the Harry J. Kalven Jr. Prize from the Law and Society Association.
Before his 14-year appointment as ABF Executive Director, Garth was Dean at Indiana University School of Law- Bloomington (1986-90). After his ABF Director term ended, he served as Dean of Southwestern Law School (2005-2014). He also served as co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education (2011-14).
“I cherish this extraordinary research organization and the talented people connected to it, and I loved my prior years as director of the ABF. Of course, I could not say no to the request to help out in the transition period,” said Garth. “I am looking forward to rejoining the ABF in this role and doing what I can to ensure a smooth transition for the next permanent director.”
Garth will join the ABF after an extraordinary year for the Foundation. The American Bar Endowment’s grant and the Fellows of the ABF continue to go above and beyond in their dedication to the ABF’s mission through their financial contributions. As the world begins to establish a new, post-pandemic normal, the ABF guided under Garth will remain resilient in our work to expand knowledge and advance justice.
“I am delighted that Bryant has agreed to return to the ABF as the Interim Director until the director search is successful,” said ABF President E. Thomas Sullivan. “His academic accomplishments and empirical research in the law and social policy are well established and admired. Also, his extensive, successful administrative experience will serve the ABF very well during his appointment.”
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.