Keynote Speaker: Charles Fried ’60
Charles Fried ’60 is a constitutional law and contracts scholar who served under President Ronald Reagan as the 38th solicitor general of the United States from 1985 to 1989.
Born in Prague, Fried became a U.S. citizen in 1948 and earned his LL.B. in 1960 from Columbia Law School, where he was a Stone Scholar and an editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating, Fried clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan.
Fried is the Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He joined the faculty there in 1961 and has taught criminal law, commercial law, Roman law, torts, contracts, labor law, constitutional law and federal courts, and appellate and Supreme Court advocacy. His scholarship focuses on the connection between normative theory and the concrete institutions of public and private law. Fried also has served as a visiting professor at Columbia Law School, most recently in 2012.
Fried is a prolific writer. Three of his books—An Anatomy of Values: Problems of Personal and Social Choice (1970), Right and Wrong (1978), and Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government (2006)—develop themes in moral and political philosophy with applications to the law. Three others—Contracts as Promise: A Theory of Contractual Obligation (1980, 2015), Making Tort Law: What Should Be Done and Who Should Do It (2003, with David Rosenberg), and Saying What the Law Is: The Constitution in the Supreme Court (2004)—are fundamental inquiries into broad legal institutions. In Order and Law: Arguing the Reagan Revolution (1991), Fried discusses major themes developed during his time as U.S. solicitor general.
Fried has argued numerous cases in state and federal courts, most notably Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), in which the U.S. Supreme Court established standards for expert and scientific evidence.
From 1994 to 1999, Fried served as an associate justice on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the state’s highest appellate court. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Law Institute.
In addition to earning his LL.B. from Columbia Law School, Fried received an A.B. from Princeton University and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Oxford.