Professor Anita Bernstein Selected to Receive Prestigious William L. Prosser Award


Anita Bernstein, Anita and Stuart Subotnick Professor of Law, has been selected to receive the 2020 William L. Prosser Award by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Torts and Compensation Systems. The Prosser Award recognizes “outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching, and service” related to torts and compensation systems.

Bernstein, a nationally recognized authority on tort law, feminist jurisprudence, professional responsibility, and products liability, is a member of the American Law Institute and a past chair of the AALS Executive Committee on Torts and Compensation Systems. She will be presented with the award at the annual AALS meeting in Washington, D.C., in January.

“This award is a fitting, and well-earned, recognition by Professor Bernstein’s peers of her exceptional contributions,” said Dean Michael T. Cahill. “I join with her Brooklyn Law faculty colleagues in extending our warmest congratulations on this honor.”

Bernstein is the second Brooklyn Law School faculty member to receive this award. In 2016, Aaron Twerski, Irwin and Jill Cohen Professor of Law, was honored. Other past recipients include Judge Guido Calabresi, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Judge Richard Posner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (ret.), and Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago School of Law; Jane Stapleton, University of Texas School of Law; and James Henderson Jr., Cornell Law School.

Bernstein’s recent book, The Common Law Inside the Female Body (Cambridge University Press 2019), breaks new ground with her in-depth exploration of U.S. common law through history—focusing on crimes, contracts, torts, and property—as a fertile source for strengthening women’s rights and freedoms. It is the subject of forthcoming symposia that will appear in the Northwestern Law Review Online and the Boston College Law Review E. Supp.

Bernstein’s scholarship has been cited in decisional law by trial and appellate federal courts and the supreme courts of Pennsylvania and Texas. She has been recognized as one of the most highly cited scholars in the field of torts and products liability, according to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, an influential legal blog. Bernstein’s writings have appeared in the law reviews of dozens of law schools, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, California, Michigan, Cornell, Duke, Texas, and Vanderbilt.  She also authored a series of columns on legal malpractice that appeared in the New York Law Journal. The author of several books addressing torts, products liability, and the law of marriage, Bernstein’s wide-ranging interests extend to microfinance, diversity as a rationale for affirmative action, and comparative and international law.