Indian-origin scholar becomes dean of top US law school

Jul 02 2014, 15:39 IST
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SummarySujit Choudhry began a five-year term as Berkeley Law's 12th dean yesterday.

Sujit Choudhry, an international constitutional law expert, has become the first Indian-American Dean of the Berkeley School of Law of the University of California, one of the major law schools in the US.

44-year-old Delhi-born Choudhry, who was initially appointed in May, began a five-year term as Berkeley Law's 12th dean yesterday.

He has replaced former Dean Christopher Edley Jr, who left the position in December of last year and who had been temporarily replaced by acting Dean Gillian Lester.

Choudhry was the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He was also the founder of its Centre for Constitutional Transitions.

UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele described Choudhry as a "brilliant scholar, professor, and mentor, who would inspire and lead with 'big ideas' during a time of rapid change in the legal profession."

"Choudhry's enduring commitment to social mobility, diversity, and educational excellence will bring renewed energy to the law school's core mission of public service and community engagement," Steele said.

Choudhry called his new job "the opportunity of a lifetime" in an interview with Berkeley Law's annual Transcript magazine.

"What's distinctive about Berkeley Law is its culture," he was quoted as saying.

"It's got hustle and drive and innovative people willing to experiment and try new things, which seems very much rooted in Berkeley's identity as a public university."

Choudhry's recent work has had an international focus that dovetails closely with the university's global outreach and scholarship.

At the Centre for Constitutional Transitions, he led a network of academics in two dozen countries that provided research and policy guidance for civic leaders engaged in constitution drafting.

Choudhry is also a member of the UN Mediation Roster, and has served as a consultant to the World Bank Institute and as an expert in support of constitutional transitions in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

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