Richard Posner is an American economist who has also made a name for himself as a legal theorist and jurist. He is most recognized in the field of law and economics, and is currently a judge in an appellate court of the United States.
Posner was born on 11th January, 1939, in New York City. He initially pursued his higher education from Yale College, from where he completed an A.B. in 1959, majoring in English. He then pursued his LL.B. from Harvard University. His time at Harvard was categorized by the presidency of the Harvard Law Review, while he also graduated with first position in his class in 1962. Soon after his graduation, Posner took up a job as a clerk, serving Justice William J. Brennan of the United States Supreme Court. A year later however, he took up the post of Attorney Advisor to Philip Elman, then Federal Trade Commissioner. Quite ironically, one of Posner’s later excursions saw him argue in favor of the abolishment of the Federal Trade Commissioner. Posner later also had the opportunity to work for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Posner boasts considerable experience as a university lecturer. In 1968, he was recruited by Stanford Law School as a faculty member. A year later however, Posner jumped ship to the University of Chicago Law School. He is still employed by the institute, where he holds the title of Senior Lecturer, and he served as founding editor of the university’s law journal, titled The Journal Of Legal Studies, in 1972. After his induction in to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1981 Posner had to balance his teaching with his judicial duties. He became Chief Judge of the court between the years 1993 and 2000, and thus taught at the university only part time.
Posner has works published across a range of disciplines as well. He has written a number of books and articles on law and economics, moral theory, law and literature, intellectual property, the federal judiciary, as well as on other legal aspects. Some of his more prominent works include The Economics of Justice, Law and Literature, Sex and Reason, The Federal Courts: Challenge and Reform and The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory. Posner has been vocal on a multitude of political topics as well. His opinions on Bill Clinton’s infidelity, the conquest of Iraq, and the controversy surrounding the 2000 presidential election have been well documented.
Posner’s specialty lies in the realm of law and economics. The Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century, a recognition stemming from his numerous contributions to the discipline. Posner joined forces with Gary Baker, a renowned economist known for winning the Nobel Prize, in 2004 to start their own blog discussing key economic issues.
Richard Posner has received numerous awards over the course of his professional career. Some of his most notable ones include the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Award in Law from the University of Virginia in 1994, the 2003 Research Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the Thomas C. Schelling Award from Harvard University in 2005, as well as the American Economic Association’s Ronald H. Coase Medal in 2010. He has often been tipped to win a judge’s seat on the Supreme Court, but some sects have remained skeptical due to his tendency of coming up with outrageous conclusions every now and then.