Professor Douglas A. Berman is Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law and Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, housed in the Moritz College of Law. 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, Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform Seminar, Federal and State Clemency Decision-making, The Death Penalty, Legislation, Introduction to Intellectual Property, Second Amendment Seminar, and the Legislation Clinic.
Professor Berman attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In law school, he was an 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 is the co-author of two casebooks. Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, published by Aspen Publishers, is now in its fifth edition. Marijuana Law and Policy was released by Carolina Academic Press in 2020. In addition to authoring numerous articles on topics ranging from capital punishment to the federal sentencing guidelines, Professor Berman has served as a managing editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for more than twenty five years, and also serves as an 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 people 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 that selected recipients in the 2002-03 school year. And in the 2020-2021 school year, Professor Berman received The Ohio State University Distinguished Scholar Award which is presented to only six faculty annually to recognize “their exceptional scholarly accomplishments and substantial body of research.”
Professor Berman is the sole creator and author of the widely-read and widely-cited blog, Sentencing Law and Policy. The blog often receives nearly 50,000 page views 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 Journal, Legal Affairs magazine, Lawyers Weekly USA, Legal Times, Columbus Monthly, and in numerous other print and online 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 been cited in numerous appellate and district court rulings, in many briefs submitted to federal and state courts around the country, and in hundreds of law review articles.
Professor Berman is a member of the Council on Criminal Justice and frequently is consulted by national and state policymakers, sentencing commissioners, and public policy groups concerning sentencing law and policy reforms. He has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and before numerous sentencing commissions. He also is frequently contacted by national and local media concerning sentencing and marijuana reform developments.
Professor Berman has appeared on national television, radio and podcast news programs 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 Journal, Legal 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 of 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, including being retained by law firms to provide consulting service on various cutting-edge federal sentencing issues.