Sitkoff, HLS authors contribute to the study of fiduciary law

Robert Sitkoff 1

Credit: Gretchen Ertl Professor Robert Sitkoff

Harvard Law School Professor Robert H. Sitkoff, along with several other HLS scholars, have made important recent contributions to the study of fiduciary law—a field of growing interest that focuses on relationships in which people (fiduciaries) represent others (their beneficiaries), exercising power over their person, property, or joint undertakings.

Sitkoff co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law, with William & Mary Law School Professor Evan Criddle and Notre Dame Law School Professor Paul Miller. Slated for release this month from Oxford University Press, the book offers a comprehensive overview of critical topics in fiduciary law and theory. The book aims to provide clear guidance on essential concepts and principles of fiduciary law, including the defining characteristics of fiduciary relationships, the duty of loyalty, the duty of care, mandatory and default rules, and fiduciary remedies. “Our central purpose,” explained Sitkoff, “was to organize fiduciary law as a coherent field unto itself.”

Sitkoff, whose research focuses on economic and empirical analysis of trusts, estates, and fiduciary administration, contributed two chapters to the handbook: “Fiduciary Principles in Trust Law” and “Other Fiduciary Duties: Implementing Loyalty and Care.”

HLS scholars are featured prominently throughout the book’s 48 chapters. Professor Howell Jackson  ’82 and S.J.D. Candidate Talia Gillis contributed a chapter on “Fiduciary Law and Financial Regulation”; Professor John Goldberg wrote “The Fiduciary Duty of Care”; Professor J. Mark Ramseyer ’82 co-authored a chapter on “Fiduciary Principles in Japanese Law,” with Masayuki Tamaruya; Professor Henry Smith contributed “Fiduciary Law and Equity”; and Lecturer on Law Leo Strine, Jr. wrote “Delaware Corporate Fiduciary Law: Searching for the Optimal Balance,” with Lawrence Hamermesh.

Sitkoff is the surviving coauthor of Wills, Trusts, and Estates (Wolters Kluwer 10th ed. 2017). Among his recent scholarly work is “Reconciling Fiduciary Duty and Social Conscience: The Law and Economics of ESG Investing by a Trustee,” forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review.

An active participant in law reform, Sitkoff serves under Massachusetts gubernatorial appointment on the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). Within the ULC, he was Chair of the Drafting Committee for the Uniform Directed Trust Act and he is a liaison member of the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trusts and Estates Acts. Within the American Law Institute (ALI), Sitkoff is a member of the Council, the Institute’s Board of Directors. He is currently an Adviser for the Restatement of Charitable Nonprofits and for the Restatement (Third) of Conflict of Laws.