Roger C. Cramton - Clip 1

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Roger C. Cramton


Peter W. Martin

Resource Type

Video Interview

Date of Recording





From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jae-Hyon Ahn. This video covers the circumstances under which Roger Cramton came to Cornell Law School as dean, his deanship and public service activities, and his subsequent teaching and scholarship in the field of professional responsibility.

Professor Cramton was a graduate of Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude and a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Order of the Coif. After graduating from Law School in 1955, Roger Cramton clerked for the Hon. Sterry R. Waterman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then for Justice Harold H. Burton of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was admitted to the Vermont, Michigan, and New York bars. He entered the legal academy in 1957 and taught at University of Chicago Law School and University of Michigan Law School before joining the Cornell Law School faculty in 1973. From 1973 to 1980 he served as Dean of the Law School.

Before arriving at Cornell, Professor Cramton served briefly as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel in the United States Department of Justice, a post in which he was preceded by William H. Rehnquist, who was later to become Supreme Court Chief Justice, and followed by Antonin Scalia, who also became Supreme Court Justice.

Prior to this post, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him as chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improving federal administrative procedures. Later, while serving as Dean at Cornell Law, President Gerald Ford appointed Cramton as the first chairman of the Legal Services Corporation, the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low income Americans in the nation, a post in which he was followed by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Professor Cramton’s teaching and scholarship were focused primarily in the fields of legal ethics, legal profession, conflict of laws, and torts. He served as an advisor on a number of American Law Institute projects, including Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers (1999) and Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability (1998). He created The American Legal Ethics Library, a unique online collection of state ethics codes accompanied by narratives on the law of lawyering of the respective states.

Professor Cramton died on February 3, 2017, at the age of 87.


Cornell Law School, Law schools, Law professors, Law school deans


Legal Education


The initial phase of this project was sponsored by a generous grant from the law firm of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP.

Part 1 of 2.