Professor Miriam Baer Named Centennial Professor of Law

Professor Miriam Baer has been named Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School.

Baer, a noted authority on white-collar crime and corporate compliance, is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division for the Southern District of New York. Her scholarship, which focuses on organizational wrongdoing in public and private settings and the federal government’s attempts to detect and punish corporate crime, has twice been selected for the prestigious Stanford-Yale-Harvard Junior Faculty Forum and for the American Law and Economic Association’s Annual Meeting. Her work has been published in top law reviews, including the Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Texas Law Review, and Minnesota Law Review, among others. In her forthcoming book, Myths and Misunderstandings of White-Collar Crime (Cambridge University Press), Baer examines competing views that white-collar crime is either overcriminalized or underenforced. Baer argues that much of the confusion stems from how our enforcement institutions “make” white-collar crime. The federal criminal code’s statutes, Baer argues, are sometimes underwritten, often overly broad, and fail to distinguish lesser variations of the same offense from more serious ones. Baer’s book therefore proposes a deeper understanding of “code design” and argues for changes in the federal code that would facilitate the public’s understanding and oversight of our enforcement institutions.

“Miriam was clearly a rising star when she joined our faculty in 2008, and she has long since firmly secured her place in the academic firmament,” Dean Michael Cahill said. “She excels in every aspect of a professor’s role: as teacher, scholar, mentor, colleague, and public voice. It is only appropriate that she succeed Roberta Karmel—another bright and enduring star at Brooklyn Law School and significant public intellectual in the world of business law—as the occupant of this faculty chair.”

At the Law School, Baer teaches in the areas of corporate law, white-collar crime, criminal law, and criminal procedure, and she serves as associate director of the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation. This year, she is a Visiting Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. She is also a member of the American Law Institute, a Senior Fellow in the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, and a Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. Baer is a frequent commentator in the media on legal issues related to high-profile cases, including the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and the Mueller investigation.

“I’m honored and thrilled to accept this chair, knowing that it previously belonged to my friend and mentor, Roberta Karmel,” said Baer. “I also consider myself fortunate to call BLS my intellectual home, where I draw inspiration from our engaged and passionate students and our collegial and dynamic faculty. I am grateful to Dean Cahill and the Board for recognizing my accomplishments and look forward to many future years of studying, teaching, and writing about white-collar and corporate crime.”

Baer received her A.B. from Princeton University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She also practiced as a litigation associate with Cravath, Swaine & Moore and was a law clerk to Judge Jane Roth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.