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Douglas Berman

Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law

Professor Berman attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In law school, he was the Editor and Developments Office Chair of the Harvard Law Review and also served as a teaching assistant for a Harvard University philosophy course. After graduation from law school in 1993, Professor Berman served as a law clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman and then for Judge Guido Calabresi, both on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After clerking, Professor Berman was a litigation associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison in New York City.

Professor Berman’s principal teaching and research focus is in the area of criminal law and criminal sentencing, though he also has teaching and practice experience in the fields of legislation and intellectual property. He has taught Criminal Law, Criminal Punishment and Sentencing, Criminal Procedure – Investigation, The Death Penalty, Legislation, Introduction to Intellectual Property, Second Amendment Seminar, and the Legislation Clinic.

Professor Berman is the co-author of a casebook, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, published by Aspen Publishers. In addition to authoring numerous publications on topics ranging from capital punishment to the federal sentencing guidelines, Professor Berman has served as an Editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for nearly 10 years, and also now serves as co-managing editor of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Professor Berman received the Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching which is given to only 10 persons each year from an eligible pool of nearly 3,000 faculty members. Professor Berman was one of the youngest faculty members to ever receive this award, and he was subsequently asked to chair the University Committee which selects this award’s recipients in the 2002-2003 school year.

Professor Berman is the sole creator and author of the widely-read and widely-cited web log, Sentencing Law and Policy. The blog receives well over 50,000 “hits” per month (and had over 20,000 hits the day of the Supreme Court’s major sentencing decision in United States v. Booker). Professor Berman’s work on the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, which he describes as a form of “scholarship in action,” has been profiled or discussed at length in articles appearing in the Wall Street JournalLegal Affairs magazine, Lawyers Weekly USALegal TimesColumbus Monthly, and in numerous other print and on-line publications.

In addition, Sentencing Law and Policy has the distinction of being the first blog cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (for a document appearing exclusively on the site), and substantive analysis in particular blog posts has already been cited in at least four federal circuit court opinions, in nearly a dozen federal district court opinions, in at least one state supreme court opinion, in many briefs submitted to courts around the country, and in dozens of law review articles.

Professor Berman is frequently consulted by national and local media concerning sentencing developments. In the last year alone, Professor Berman has appeared on four national TV news programs and been featured on two legal commentary shows produced by the Massachusetts School of Law and broadcast on public television throughout the Northeast. He has also been involved in six different National Public Radio segments and numerous local public radio segments, and has been extensively quoted in newspaper articles appearing in nearly every major national paper and many local papers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street JournalLegal Times, and in pieces from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Knight-Ridder news services.

Professor Berman sometimes serves as a consultant to lawyers working on important or interesting sentencing cases. In most instances, Professor Berman’s consulting has been on an ad hoc and pro bono basis, and it usually involves a quick review draft briefs and other court filings and then providing general advice on litigation strategies. On some occasions, however, Professor Berman has been formally retained to play a more sustained role in certain cases. For example, in recent years, Professor Berman has been retained by law firms to provide consulting service on various cutting-edge federal sentencing issues.