Legal Masterminds: Richard Allen Posner (born January 11, 1939)
While Richard Posner is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, he is also an American jurist, legal theorist, and economist. To say that he is highly influential would be an understatement.
He has written 40 books on jurisprudence, economics, and several other topics, which include Economic Analysis of Law, The Economics of Justice, The Problems of Jurisprudence, Sex and Reason, Law, Pragmatism and Democracy, and The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy.
The Journal of Legal Studies has identified Posner as the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century. A 2004 poll by Legal Affairs magazine named Posner as one of the top twenty legal thinkers in the U.S.
Born in New York City, Posner graduated from Yale College summa cum laude, with a degree in English. He then went on to graduate from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, where he was additionally the first in his class and president of the Harvard Law Review.
After graduation, he clerked for Justice William J. Brennan of the United States Supreme Court term, he then served as Attorney-Advisor to Federal Trade Commissioner Philip Elman. He went on to work in the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, under Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall. He has also been a law professor at both Stanford and University of Chicago.
He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th circuit in 1981 by President Reagan. Unlike many other judges, he writes all of his own opinions.
Interestingly, Posner is also "one of the founding fathers of Bluebook abolitionism, having advocated it for almost twenty-five years, ever since his 1986 University of Chicago Law Review article on the subject." (note: The Bluebook, for those who haven't had the displeasure of memorizing it and implementing it in their writing, is a hypertechnical book of rules regarding legal citations. It includes the proper ways to abbreviate words, cite different courts, etc.)
As a testament to his even handed nature and general respect for his abilities as a justice, in 1999, Posner was welcomed as a private mediator among the parties involved in the Microsoft antitrust case.
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