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American Law Institute elects Marchant to membership

March 28, 2013

Regents’ Professor Gary Marchant of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law has been named to a prestigious international legal association dedicated to improving the administration of justice.

Marchant, faculty director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, was elected to The American Law Institute, joining eight other faculty members at the College of Law who are members of the Philadelphia-based organization. They are professors Paul Bender, Charles Calleros, Ira Ellman, Myles Lynk, Jonathan Rose, Milton Schroeder, Rebecca Tsosie and James Weinstein. The late professor Ralph Spritzer also was a member.

Douglas Sylvester, dean of the College of Law and a longtime colleague of Marchant’s in the Center, said his intellect, skills and work ethic are legendary, at home and abroad.

“Gary is internationally known – and sought after – for his prescient knowledge of the intersection of emerging technologies with law and policy, and he is one of the most productive, impressive scholars I have ever known,” said Sylvester, noting that Marchant recently was named to another committee of The National Academies, his fourth such appointment by the National Research Council.

“Moreover, Gary is a leader in the university community, and a tireless mentor of our students, who find his teaching style engaging, fascinating and down-to-earth. His election to this distinguished association is well-deserved.”

The American Law Institute selects its members based on their professional achievements, demonstrated interests in improving the law, high character, ability and professional standing. Marchant was nominated by Lynk, an ALI member since 1992.

“Membership in the ALI is quite an honor,” said Lynk, the Peter Kiewit Foundation Professor of Law and the Legal Profession at the College of Law. “The ALI is the most prestigious organization of judges, lawyers and academics in America working to advance the development of the law.

“For academics, the ALI presents the intellectual challenge of helping to restate the law and set the future course of American legal standards,” said Lynk, an emeritus member of the Institute’s Governing Council. “For judges, the ALI allows them a voice in applying their judicial experience to help establish the legal rules and principles they will have to interpret from the bench. And for lawyers, the ALI affords them an opportunity as public citizens and officers of the court to be involved in efforts to advance the state of American law beyond just a client’s interests.”

Marchant has a doctorate in genetics from the University of British Columbia, and a master's in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated first in his class from Harvard Law. Following a career in private practice in Washington, D.C., he joined the faculty at ASU in 1999, and became faculty director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation in 2001. Marchant is the ASU Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics, a senior sustainability scientist in the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability and a professor of life sciences at ASU.

His research interests include the use of genetic information in environmental regulation, risk and the precautionary principle, legal aspects of personalized medicine, and regulation of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, neuroscience and biotechnology. Marchant teaches courses in Environmental Law, Law, Science & Technology, Genetics and the Law, Biotechnology: Science, Law and Policy, and Nanotechnology Law & Policy.

“I am very honored to be elected to such an important and influential body,” he said. “When you go to law school, one of the first things you realize is the importance of the Restatements of the Law adopted by the ALI. To now have an opportunity be a part of that process is both exciting and humbling.”

The American Law Institute was founded in 1923 following a study by a group of prominent American judges, lawyers and teachers seeking to address the uncertain and complex nature of early 20th-century American law. Today, it is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law.

Comprising more than 4,300 attorneys, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications, the Institute drafts, discusses, revises and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes, and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. About one-third of the elected members are law school faculty.