Sujit Choudhry takes office as Dean of University of California Berkeley School of Law

First Indian American to helm major law school in the US.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Top US legal expert Sujit Choudhry has assumed his position as the Dean of University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Law, becoming the first Indian American to ever take the helm of a major law school in the US.

Sujit Choudhry (courtesy of NYU)
Sujit Choudhry (courtesy of NYU)

Choudhry (44) was initially appointed back in May, and officially took office on Tuesday, July 1. He is the 12th Law School Dean that UC Berkeley has ever had, and will be replacing former Dean Christopher Edley Jr., who left the position in December of last year and who had been temporarily replaced by acting Dean Gillian Lester.

“Berkeley Law is simply a remarkable institution,” Choudhry said, in a statement to Berkeley Law, at the time of his appointment. “It is among the very best law schools in the nation, and is an integral part of one of the world’s great research universities. I am deeply attracted to Berkeley Law’s public mission; it is committed to equality of opportunity, academic excellence, and diversity like no other law school that I know.”

Originally from New Delhi, Choudhry is regarded as one of the foremost scholars on US Constitutional law, and has impressive credentials to back up his ascension to one of the most highly sought-after offices in the US legal education field.

Just prior to joining UC Berkeley, Choudhry was the Cecilia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University. He spent his time at NYU teaching a number of legal courses, including Comparative Constitutional Law, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Transitions & Global and Comparative Law Colloquium (for J.D.s), and Constitutional Transitions Clinic (for J.D.s).

Before that, Choudhry was Scholl Chair and Associate Dean of the First Year Program at the University of Toronto. Additionally, Choudhry was a law clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, and was a Graduate Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions, in addition to being a Rhodes Scholar, too.

Additionally, Choudhry was also named Practitioner of the Year by the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, in 2011. The year before, he was awarded the Trudeau Fellowship by the Trudeau Foundation. Choudhry was also given Harvard University’s Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship, and the William E. Taylor Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, both in 1997.

Choudhry earned his B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University in 1992, followed by a B.A. (with first-class honors) in Law from the University of Oxford’s University College, in 1994. Following that, he went to the University of Toronto, graduating with an LL.B. (with honors) in 1996, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1998.

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