In Memoriam: Mary Kay Kane

In Memoriam: Mary Kay Kane

Mary Kay Kane passed away yesterday at age 74. She was elected to the Institute in 1978 and to the ALI Council in 1998, taking emeritus status in 2018.

"She approached every project, meeting, and decision with keen intellect and grace," said ALI President David F. Levi. "I was fortunate to come to know Mary Kay because of her service on the Standing Committee for the Rules of Practice and Procedure and because of our joint service on the Council of the ALI. She was also a wonderful role model for me and others as a law dean.  She was such a smart and lovely person, such a kind and balanced commenter.  We will all miss her very much."

A life member of the Institute, she generously gave countless hours to all of ALI’s projects, and additionally served as an Adviser on the Uniform Commercial Code; Restatement Third, Conflict of Laws; Restatement Third, Torts: Apportionment of Liability; and Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure. She also served as the Co-Reporter for the Complex Litigation Project, as well as various Council committees, including the 100th Anniversary, Development, Membership, and Executive Committees, among others. 

Her generosity to the Institute also provided for the Institute’s projects to continue through the establishment of the Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr. fund, which was established to provide the current Director with the resources necessary to take advantage of any and all opportunities to further ALI’s important work.

More about her esteemed career:

Mary Kay was born and raised in Detroit. She attended the University of Michigan where she received a B.A. degree in English and a J.D. in law in 1971. Upon graduation from law school, she became co-director of a national science foundation project on privacy and social science research data, spending one year at the University of Michigan and two years at Harvard Law School working on that project.

She began teaching in 1974 at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and came to Hastings in 1977. She served as Associate Academic Dean from 1980 to 82, as Acting Academic Dean during the 1987-88 academic year, as Academic Dean from 1990 to 93, and as Dean from 1993 to 2006, and as Chancellor from 2000 to 2006. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, and Boalt Hall.

In 2001, Mary Kay served as the President of the Association of American Law Schools. She also served as a member of the Standing Committee on Practice and Procedure of the United States Judicial Conference from 2000-2006, and as a member of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2004-2010. Since 2014, she served on the Board of the International Association of Law Schools and as the Chair of the International Advisory Board for Kozminski University Law School in Warsaw, Poland.

To read more, please see the message from UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman: