Stephen Burbank is a co-secretary of the American Academy in Berlin.
Burbank is the David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he specializes in complex litigation, judicial administration, and international and comparative procedure. Burbank studied at Harvard University and received his JD in 1973. After completing law school, he clerked for Justice Robert Brauchner of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and for Chief Justice Warren Burger of the United States Supreme Court. Burbank served as general counsel to the University of Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1980 and became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1979.
An influential scholar of federal practice and procedure, Burbank is the author of several definitive works on federal court rulemaking, interjurisdictional preclusion, litigation sanctions, and judicial independence and accountability. He is editor (with Barry Friedman) of Judicial Independence at the Crossroads: an Interdisciplinary Approach (Sage, 2002), and his 1982 article “The Rules Enabling Act of 1934” (University of Pennsylvania Law Review) has been described as the most comprehensive account of the origins of modern court rulemaking and as work that reoriented scholarship in the field. His 1986 article “Interjurisdictional Preclusion, Full Faith and Credit and Federal Common Law: A General Approach” (Cornell Law Review) has also been cited extensively in scholarship and judicial decisions. Burbank’s book (with Sean Farhang) Rights and Retrenchment: The Counterrevolution against Federal Litigation (Cambridge University Press) is a multimethod, inter-disciplinary study of attempts to constrict private enforcement of federal law in Congress, court rulemaking, and the Supreme Court.
Burbank has been a visiting professor at Harvard University; the University of Michigan; the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; the Università degli Studi in Urbino; and the Università degli Studi in Pavia, Italy. In 2013, he served as Herbert Smith Visitor to the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge and as Senior Academic Visitor to Clare College. A Life Member of the American Law Institute and Trustee Emeritus of Phillips Academy (Andover), he has also served as Chair of the Board of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.