New York University School of Law professor Richard Revesz
New York University School of Law professor Richard Revesz ()

The American Law Institute has named former New York University School of Law dean Richard Revesz as its next director.

Revesz, who led NYU’s law school from 2002 to 2013 and remains a professor there, in May will assume the leadership of ALI, the leading independent legal research organization in the country. The nonprofit comprises 4,000 law professors, judges and attorneys and conducts scholarly research intended to improve the legal system.

“In more than 90 years of working toward law reform, we have had only five directors, and each one was a giant in the law,” ALI president Roberta Cooper Ramo said on Monday. “In Richard Revesz, we have found another major legal figure to carry on the essential work of clarifying, modernizing and improving the law.”

Revesz will replace Lance Leibman, a professor at Columbia Law School who has run the institute for 15 years.

Revesz’ appointment represents a change of course for the institute, which in January 2013 named Harvard law professor and former Office of White House Counsel Daniel Meltzer as its director designate. Meltzer said he withdrew from the position during the summer citing health problems. “ALI could not have done better than to have lined up Ricky as the next director,” he said.

The director of the institute identifies potential research projects, brings in academics to lead them and recruits lawyers and judges to help formulate legal principles. Those conclusions can come in the form of model statues, principles of law or so-called “restatements of law,” and are circulated to judges, practitioners and legal academics. Existing projects are examining government ethics, election law and the penal code regarding sexual assault and related cases, among other topics.

“Ricky has always been a highly productive and insightful scholar, even while handling the demands of running the law school,” NYU law dean Trevor Morrison said. “His tremendous intellectual and administrative abilities, his capacity to lead and his unbounded energy make him a fabulous choice to oversee the ALI, whose work has been so vital to practitioners, jurists, and academics.”

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