In Memoriam: Roger C. Cramton

In Memoriam: Roger C. Cramton

ALI Emeritus Council member Roger C. Cramton, former dean of Cornell Law School and the Robert S. Stevens Professor Emeritus of Law, died Feb. 3, 2017. He was 87.

Professor Cramton received his A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1950 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1955, where he served on the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

He began his teaching career in 1957 as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and then at the University of Michigan Law School, teaching ethics and torts. He became dean of the Cornell Law School in 1973, following work with the Administrative Conference of the U.S. and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Professor Cramton as chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improve federal administrative procedures. In 1972, Nixon appointed him as assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.  He took on the role of Dean of Cornell Law School in 1973.

In addition to his work as Cornell’s law dean, President Gerald Ford appointed Professor Cramton as the first chairman of the Legal Services Corporation, the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation, a post he held from 1975 to 1978.

In addition to his numerous scholarly articles, Professor Cramton also published with co-authors two leading teaching books in the field of law: The Law and Ethics of Lawyering (4th ed. 2005) and Conflict of Laws (5th ed. 1993). He also created The American Legal Ethics Library, a unique collection of state ethics codes accompanied by narratives on the law of lawyering of the respective states.

A dedicated member of ALI, he joined the Council in 1975. He served as an Adviser on the Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution; Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Products Liability; and Restatement of the Law Third, The Law Governing Lawyers projects, and on the Members Consultative Groups for Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Liability for Physical Harm.