Michael I. Sovern is the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and President Emeritus of Columbia University. After two years on the faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School, Sovern joined the Columbia faculty in 1957, where he served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Columbia University from 1968 to 1969; dean of the Law School from 1970 to 1979; executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of the university from 1979 to 1980; and president of the university from 1980 to 1993.
Sovern is a former arbitrator for disputes between numerous private companies and public agencies and the unions representing their employees. He has served as a mediator in negotiations between the New York Transit Authority and the Transport Workers Union, as well as between New York City and its firefighters and policemen. He was an author-moderator for the WNBC-TV series Due Process for the Accused and a host of the WNET-TV series Leading Questions.
He has been special counsel to New Jersey’s governor, consultant on law to Time magazine, and consultant to the Ford Foundation. He has served on the Pulitzer Prize Board and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Board, and as a trustee of President Clinton’s Legal Defense Trust.