Berlin Prize Fellow - Class of Fall 2000
Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Michael Meltsner was named a fellow of the American Academy in 2000; he conducted research on German constitutional law and for many years thereafter taught classes on American Law to students at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Meltsner began his career as counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s and then taught at the Columbia Law School. In the 1980s he served as dean of the Northeastern Law School in Boston where he is currently the Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law. His memoir, The Making of a Civil Rights Lawyer,
was published in 2006 by the University of Virginia Press. Among his other writings are Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment; Public Interest Advocacy; Reflections on Clinical Legal Education; and Short Takes, a novel.
In 1977, Meltsner, who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has served as a consultant to the US Department of Justice, the Ford Foundation, and the Legal Action Center, and has lectured in Canada, Egypt, India, China, the Netherlands and South Africa. Meltsner returned to Northeastern in 2005 after five years as a visiting professor and director of the First-Year Lawyering Program at Harvard Law School. In 2010 he was honored with the Hugo Bedau Award for his “outstanding contribution to death penalty scholarship.”