Prof. Daniel Schwarcz Wins American Law Institute’s Young Scholars Medal

March 1, 2017

The American Law Institute has announced that it will award its Young Scholars Medal to Professor Daniel Schwarcz of the Law School. The award is presented every other year at the ALI’s annual meeting to one or two outstanding early-career law professors whose work has the potential to influence improvements in the law. Colleen V. Chien of Santa Clara University School of Law will also receive the Young Scholars Medal this year.

“I couldn’t be happier with our Young Scholar selections this year,” said the chair of the medal selection committee, Justice Mariano-Florentine Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court. “These two extraordinary professors have already had an impact on important legal issues. Professor Chien’s work in intellectual property law has already helped shape governmental policy around innovation, and Professor Schwarcz’s research and writings on insurance law have contributed to important policy and legal reforms at both the state and federal levels.”

Schwarcz’s research on insurance law and regulation, spanning issues such as solvency regulation, consumer protection, employer-sponsored health insurance, and insurance coverage litigation, has directly led to various law reforms that promote more transparent insurance markets. As a result of Schwarcz’s scholarship and advocacy at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the organization established a new Transparency and Readability Working Group to study these issues and propose needed reforms. Recently, after being contacted and encouraged by attorneys at the Treasury Department, Schwarcz organized a group of scholars of insurance and financial regulation to submit two amicus briefs—at the district court and appellate levels—in connection with litigation involving the designation by the Financial Stability Oversight Council of MetLife as a systemically significant financial institution.

“I have always tried to focus my scholarship on concrete issues where I thought my efforts had the potential to meaningfully improve the law,” Schwarcz said. “Given the focus of the ALI Young Scholars program on this type of practical legal scholarship, it is extremely gratifying to have received the award.”

“This is terrific news for Dan and for the University of Minnesota Law School,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins. “The Young Scholars Medal recognizes the real world contributions of engaged legal scholars, and reminds us that such vision and commitment are found throughout our faculty.”

Schwarcz joined the Law School faculty in 2007. From 2007 to 2014, he served as a consumer representative at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He earned his A.B., magna cum laude, from Amherst College and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he was an articles editor for the Harvard Law Review and a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. After law school, he clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit and practiced at the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked mainly on insurance law matters. He subsequently spent two years as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.

Schwarcz is the second University of Minnesota Law School faculty member to receive the prestigious award in recent years; Professor Amy B. Monahan was awarded the Young Scholars Medal in 2013.

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