William Rubenstein joins HLS faculty

UCLA School of Law Professor William Rubenstein ’86 has accepted a tenured offer to join the Harvard Law School faculty. He is an expert in civil procedure whose scholarship focuses on class action law, and he is a celebrated teacher who has won several teaching awards.

“Bill Rubenstein is one of the leading procedure scholars in the nation, known especially for his influential work on class action suits and other complex litigation,” said Dean Elena Kagan ’86. “He is also one of the most acclaimed teachers in the legal academy. Both his scholarship and his teaching benefit from his longtime experience as an innovative and remarkably successful litigator. It is truly a pleasure to add someone of so many and varied talents to our faculty.”

Rubenstein has taught at HLS in various capacities dating back to the 1990-1991 academic year, when he was first a lecturer in law.  He was a visiting professor during the winter terms of 2004 and 2006 as well as the fall and winter 2006-07 academic year. Prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 1997, he also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Stanford and Yale Law Schools. Rubenstein received teaching awards in 2002 at UCLA and in 1997 at Stanford Law School.

“Civil procedure was the first class I had on the first day of my first year at HLS a quarter century ago,” said Rubenstein. “I was the peculiar 1L who loved the subject, deepened my knowledge of it during years of legal practice, and adored returning to it when I entered academia. It will be a great thrill to think, write, and teach about the processes of adjudication at HLS, among such a wonderful group of scholars and students and at an institution that has contributed so much to our understanding of the subject.”

Rubenstein is the author, co-author, or editor of four books and dozens of scholarly articles and shorter publications, most of which concern various aspects of complex litigation.  His work has been widely published in leading law journals including the Yale Law Journal, NYU Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the Georgetown Law Journal.  He has also litigated, served as an expert witness, and regularly provides consulting services to attorneys involved in complex procedural matters. As a result of his experience and expertise, Rubenstein was chosen to be one of the Advisors on the American Law Institute’s current effort to re-think class action law — The Project on the Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation. He is also the co-chair of the Class Action Subcommittee of the Mass Torts Committee of the ABA’s Litigation Section.

Before beginning his academic career, Rubenstein worked for nearly a decade at the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, litigating sexual orientation and AIDS discrimination cases in federal and state courts throughout the U.S.  He published the first law school casebook in the sexual orientation field and co-authored “The Rights of People Who are HIV Positive,” which received the 1997 American Bar Association Certificate of Merit. Rubenstein’s extensive practice experience has earned him numerous awards, including being named one of top 20 lawyers under 40 in the state of California by California Law Business in May of 2000 and being given the Award of Courage from the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Rubenstein is a frequent contributor to public discussion of legal issues.  He has published numerous op-ed pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and scores of other newspapers and legal magazines throughout the United States.

Rubenstein holds a B.A. from Yale College in addition to his J.D. from HLS. After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Honorable Stanley Sporkin, U.S. District Court, Washington, DC.

Rubenstein’s appointment brings the total number of full-time faculty to 93, the largest in HLS history. He will join several new faculty members, including Noah Feldman, Kathy Spier, Gabriella Blum, James Greiner, Robert Sitkoff, and Yochai Benkler when he begins at HLS this fall. Rubenstein is the 21st tenured or tenure-track professor hired by HLS in the past four academic years.