AALS remembers and honors the contributions of the late Dan Bernstine to legal education and the legal field.
Bernstine earned a BA at the University of California, Berkeley; a JD at Northwestern University School of Law; and an LL.M. at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
He led the Law School Admission Council as President since 2007, and had spent three decades in legal education prior to accepting that role.
Before joining LSAC, Bernstine served as president of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon for 10 years. He was also the dean of University of Wisconsin Law School and professor and interim dean at Howard University School of Law. He was general counsel at Howard University and Howard University Hospital. He was the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellow at Wisconsin and a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor early in his career. He had been a visiting professor and lecturer all over the world, including Taiwan, Germany, and Cuba.
Bernstine was awarded the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award in recognition of his work in internationalization in higher education and was a recipient of the International Citizen Award by the Oregon Consular Corps. He received numerous honorary degrees from universities internationally, including programs in the Russian Federation, Japan, Korea, and Peru. He coauthored legal textbooks and contributed articles to journals, among them Wisconsin Environmental Law Journal, The Bar Examiner, the Wisconsin Law Review, Black Law Journal, and Villanova Law Review.
Bernstine’s involvement with AALS spanned several decades, most notable are his tenures as Chair of the Nominating Committee and the Committee on Accreditation in the mid-1990s.
He leaves behind a legacy that will greatly enhance the future of U.S. legal education. AALS President Kellye Y. Testy said “Dan’s consistent leadership over decades opened countless doors for so many. He is one of the true giants of higher education and our profession.”
AALS Past President Blake D. Morant called Bernstine’s commitment to diversifying legal education and the legal profession one of his greatest contributions. “This is a huge loss for American legal education,” he said to The National Law Journal. “This is a person who has been a vanguard of legal education for many years.”
“Dan Bernstine was a wonderful person,” said AALS President-Elect Paul Marcus. “So many of us are truly in shock, it is difficult to imagine U.S. legal education today without him. Dan and I were friends for many years. He was a mentor, a wise counsel. I—and many others—shall miss him terribly.”
AALS Executive Director Judy Areen told The National Law Journal that “He exemplified very understated leadership…He didn’t need to be in the spotlight, but he was always working on his passion, which was building a more diverse legal profession.”