UNC School of Law Professor Michael Gerhardt has been selected to serve as the 2020 Distinguished Coif Visitor by the national office of the Order of the Coif. Gerhardt will visit law schools with Coif chapters, participating in classroom lectures and seminars, meeting informally with faculty and student groups, and giving one address open to the entire academic community. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by fostering an exchange of ideas with individuals whose experiences and ideas may be expected to stimulate discussion about important issues confronting the legal profession. Gerhardt is the first Carolina Law professor selected for this national distinction.
The Order of the Coif is an honorary society that that recognizes outstanding law student scholarship and lawyers, judges and teachers who attain high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments. The society originated in England and the first chapter in the United States was established in 1902. There are now 75 chapters in U.S. law schools.
Gerhardt is the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at UNC and a scholar in residence at the National Constitutional Center. He is the first independent scholar to be selected by the Library of Congress to serve as its principal advisor in the updating of the official United States Constitution Annotated. He has served as Special Counsel to the Clinton White House on the nomination of Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court and as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nominations of six other sitting justices on the Supreme Court. During President Clinton’s impeachment, he testified as the only joint witness before the House Judiciary Committee in its hearing on the history and scope of impeachment
An expert on constitutional law, Gerhardt has written dozens of law review articles and several books, including The Forgotten Presidents: Their Untold Constitutional Legacy, which was selected by The Financial Times as one of the best non-fiction books of 2013; The Power of Precedent; The Federal Appointments Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis; Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know; and a treatise on impeachment, The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis, which is widely regarded as the leading modern treatise on the subject.
The 2019 Distinguished Coif Visitor is James Forman Jr., of Yale Law School, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. Previous Distinguished Coif Visitors include Jesse Choper (UC Berkeley Law School), John Coffee (Columbia Law School), Jane Ginsburg (Columbia Law School), and Abbe Gluck (Yale Law School).
Chapters interested in hosting Gerhardt at their school during the 2020-2021 academic year should apply at orderofthecoif.org.
-July 30, 2019