Sitkoff To Join HLS Faculty

NYU trusts and estates scholar is the Law School’s fifth appointment this year

A leading legal scholar in trusts and estates will leave the New York University School of Law to join the Harvard Law School faculty next fall.

The appointment of Robert H. Sitkoff to the tenure-track professorship is the Law School’s fifth appointment of the year, and comes just a week after the Law School announced that Gabriella Blum and D. James Greiner would be joining the faculty as assistant professors.

The other two professors who were appointed earlier in the year were Kathryn Spier of Northwestern University’s School of Management and School of Law and Noah R. Feldman ’92 of New York University.

Professor of Law John F. Manning ’82, who was a member of the committee that recommended Sitkoff’s appointment, said that Sitkoff’s presence on the faculty would allow the Law School to remain on the cutting edge of trust and estate research.

“Harvard Law School has traditionally been a center for the most innovative scholarship in trusts and estates, and Professor Sitkoff will continue that tradition,” Manning said, adding that Sitkoff has proven to be a “promising scholar, phenomenal teacher, and wonderful colleague.”

According to Professor of Law David J. Barron, a former Crimson president, Sitkoff will be the only member of the faculty who specializes in research for trusts and estates.

Manning added that Sitkoff’s appointment, in addition to the appointment four other professors, would add new blood to the faculty.

Sitkoff, who has been at the Law School this spring as the John L. Gray Visiting Professor of Law, was an associate professor at the Northwestern University School of Law before heading to New York.

Sitkoff worked with Spier while he was at Northwestern, and with Feldman while he was at New York University.

“Spending a semester as a visitor, you really get a feel for a place and for the different personalities and the people,” Sitkoff said in an interview yesterday. “It was a really great fit.”

Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law Richard H. Fallon said that there was strong support for his appointment.

“No controversy,” he said. “Everyone was just delighted.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Law School Dean Elena Kagan called Sitkoff the “future of the field,” and deemed him a “worthy heir to the great Harvard tradition” of legal scholarship.

“Rob Sitkoff is doing the most exciting and important academic work in trust and estates that anyone has seen in years,” she said.

“His work is especially notable for its combination of rigorous legal analysis and empirical grounding.”

—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at