Robert Stein ’61

  • Everett Fraser Professor of Law
  • Distinguished Global Professor
  • University of Minnesota, B.S.L., J.D. summa cum laude
  • Uppsala University, Sweden, LL.D. (Hon.)

Office: 416
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Robert A. Stein ’61 rejoined the faculty as Everett Fraser Professor of Law in the fall of 2006. He teaches a Seminar on the Rule of Law, a course on the Great Cases that have Shaped the Nation, and a course on Estate Planning. In 2017 Professor Stein received the University President’s Award for Outstanding Service, and in 2016 received the University’s Global Engagement Award.

Previously, from 1994 to 2006, Professor Stein was the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the American Bar Association (ABA). He was responsible for management of the world’s largest professional membership association, with more than 400,000 members and a 900-person staff at the ABA’s headquarters in Chicago and in its Washington, D.C., office.

Prior to that, Professor Stein was Dean of the Law School from 1979 to 1994 and was the first William S. Pattee Professor of Law from 1990 until 1994. Before becoming Dean of the Law School, Professor Stein was Vice President for Administration and Planning of the University from 1977 to 1979. Professor Stein joined the faculty of the Law School in 1964.

Professor Stein was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School in 1975-76 and UCLA Law School in 1969-70. He was a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation in 1975-77. He also served as the University’s representative to the NCAA, the Big Ten, and the WCHA. He continued to be involved with the NCAA even after leaving the University in 1994, serving on the NCAA’s Division I Infraction Appeals Committee.

Professor Stein is Of Counsel to the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty. He is a Commissioner from Minnesota to the Uniform Law Commission, and was president of the National Conference from 2009-11. He has been a member of the Council of the American Law Institute for more than 25 years, and served on its Executive Committee and as an advisor to several of the Institute’s Restatements.

Professor Stein is a nationally recognized authority in the areas of estate planning, trusts, and probate law. He is an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and an Academician in the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Tax Law.

Professor Stein holds leadership positions in numerous organizations. He served as Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Rule of Law Action Group and, prior to that, served as Chair of the London-based IBA’s Professional and Public Interest Division. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of Uppsala University; he is a delegate in the American Bar Association’s policy-making House of Delegates; and, he has been Co-Chair of the Minnesota Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. He is Past President of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and served as a charter member of the Minnesota Law Review Advisory Board.

He served as a Trustee of Great Northern Iron Ore Properties and is Director Emeritus of the Educational Credit Management Corporation.


U.S. Supreme Court and Great Cases that have Shaped the Nation



  • Great Cases that Shaped the Nation (Thomson/West, 1st ed., 2007; 2d ed., 2011; University of Minnesota Law School, 3d ed., 2017)
  • Law School Success in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams (Thomson/West, 1st ed., 1996; 2d ed., 2008; West Academic, 3d ed., 2017) (translated into Chinese) Ann Burkhart
  • The Rule of Law in the 21st Century: A Worldwide Perspective (Globe Law and Business, 2015) (co-editor) Richard J. Goldstone
  • Forming a More Perfect Union: A History of the Uniform Law Commission (LexisNexis, 2013)
  • Stein on Probate: Administration of Decedents Estates under the Uniform Probate Code as Enacted in Minnesota (Mason Pub. Co., 1st ed., 1976; Butterworth Legal Publishers, 2d ed., 1986; Michie, 3d ed., 1996; LexisNexis, 4th ed., 2004) (editor)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence: A History of the University of Minnesota Law School (Mason Pub. Co., 1980)
  • Estate Planning under The Tax Reform Act of 1976 (West Pub. Co., 2d ed., 1978) A. James Casner

Journal Articles

  • Prospects and Challenges for the Rule of Law, 4 Modern Legal Practice 54 (2020) Richard J. Goldstone
  • What Exactly Is the Rule of Law?, 57 Houston Law Review 185 (2019)
  • The 2016 Stein Lecture: A Conversation Between U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Professor Robert A. Stein, 101 Minnesota Law Review 2139 (2017) Sonia Sotomayor
  • The History and Future of Capital Punishment in the United States, 54 San Diego Law Review 1 (2017)
  • A Consequential Justice, 101 Minnesota Law Review Headnotes 1 (2016)
  • No Longer a Neutral Magistrate: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the Wake of the War on Terror, 100 Minnesota Law Review 2251 (2016) Walter Mondale & Caitlinrose Fisher
    | SSRN
  • Strengthening Federalism: The Uniform State Law Movement in the United States, 99 Minnesota Law Review 2253 (2015)
  • The Stein Lecture: A Conversation Between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Professor Robert A. Stein, 99 Minnesota Law Review 1 (2014) Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • National Security and the Constitution: A Conversation Between Walter F. Mondale and Robert A. Stein, 98 Minnesota Law Review 2011 (2014) Walter F. Mondale & Monica C. Fahnhorst
  • Building a Strong Foundation: Justice John Simonett and Constitutional Law in Minnesota, 39 William Mitchell Law Review 768 (2013)
  • Rule of Law: What Does It Mean?, 18 Minnesota Journal of International Law 293 (2009)
  • Teaching the Rule of Law, 18 Minnesota Journal of International Law 403 (2009)
  • Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice in the Twenty-First Century, 30 Hamline Law Review 499 (2007)
  • The Future of the Legal Profession, 91 Minnesota Law Review 1 (2006)
  • Multidisciplinary Practices: Prohibit or Regulate? 84 Minnesota Law Review 1529 (2000)
  • What the Legal Profession Expects of Law Schools: A Response, 34 Indiana Law Review 15 (2000)
  • Probate Reformation: The Impact of the Uniform Laws, 23 Probate Lawyer 1 (1997) (1997 Joseph Trachtman lecture)
  • From Tax-Favored to Tax-Penalized: The Challenge of Estate Planning for Qualified Plan Benefits in the Face of Shifting Federal Tax Policy, 79 Iowa Law Review 1127 (1994)
  • The Future of Legal Education, 75 Minnesota Law Review 945 (1991)
  • The Demography of Probate Administration, 15 University of Baltimore Law Review 54 (1985) Ian Fierstein
  • The Role of the Attorney in Estate Administration, 68 Minnesota Law Review 1107 (1984) Ian Fierstein
  • New Survey of Professionals Finds Broad Support for the “Estate Planning Team” Idea, 8 Estate Planning 354 (1981) Jane Dunn
  • Use of Insurance Proceeds in Irrevocable Trust for Payment of Death Costs, 3 Notre Dame Estate Planning Institute 71 (1979)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part VI: The Auerbach Years — A Time of Building, Controversy and Frustration, 63 Minnesota Law Review 1101 (1979)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part V: The Lockhart Years — A Time of Achievement and Challenge, 63 Minnesota Law Review 809 (1979)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part IV: The Pirsig Years — A Time of Transition, 63 Minnesota Law Review 299 (1979)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part III: The Fraser Years — A Time of Excellence and Innovation, 62 Minnesota Law Review 1161 (1978)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part II: The Vance Years — A Time of Ascendancy, 62 Minnesota Law Review 857 (1978)
  • In Pursuit of Excellence — A History of the University of Minnesota Law School, Part I: The Pattee Years — A Time of Accommodation, 62 Minnesota Law Review 485 (1978)
  • Probate Administration Study: Some Emerging Conclusions, 9 Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal 596 (1974)

Book Chapters

  • ABA CEELI/ROLI :Leader of the Rule of Law Movement, in Building the Rule of Law: Firsthand Accounts from a Thirty-Year Global Campaign (James R. Silkenat & Gerold W Libby, ed., American Bar Association, International Law Section, 2021)
  • The Rule of Law, in The Rule of Law in the 21st Century: A Worldwide Perspective 11 (Robert A. Stein & Richard J. Goldstone, eds., Globe Law and Business, 2015)
  • The Minnesota-Uppsala Exchange: A Retrospective on 25 Years of Success, in Uppsala-Minnesota Colloquium: Law, Culture and Values 9 (Mattias Dahlberg, ed., Iustus, 2009)

Documents and Reports

  • Report of the AALS Special Committee on Problems of Substance Abuse in the Law Schools, 44 Journal of Legal Education 35 (1994)

CLE Materials

  • The Uniform Laws Revolution in Probate and Trust Laws Continues, 2018 Probate and Trust Law Section Conference (Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2018)
  • The Probate Explosion of 1985 (National Practice Institute, 1985) Judge Melvin J. Peterson, John Zangs & Steve Brand
  • Administration of a Minnesota Decedent’s Estate (National Practice Institute, 1984) Judge Melvin J. Peterson & John Zangs
  • Handling a Minnesota Decedent’s Estate (National Practice Institute, 1982) Judge Melvin J. Peterson & John Zangs
  • Probate and Inheritance Tax: 1979 (National Practice Institute, 1979) Judge Melvin J. Peterson & John Zangs
  • Probate and Inheritance Tax: 1978 (National Practice Institute, 1978) Judge Melvin J. Peterson & John Zangs
  • Estate Administration under the 1975 Probate Code (Minnesota Practice Institute, 1976) Judge Melvin J. Peterson
  • Minnesota Estate Administration (Larry Johnson & Raymond Reister, eds., Minnesota State Bar Association, 1968) (associate editor with William Green)

Other Publications

  • The Revolution Continues: Toward Greater Modernization and Uniformity in Trust and Estate, 76:1 Bench & Bar of Minnesota 20 (Jan. 2019) Benjamin Orzeske
  • Jus Post Bellum: Justice After the War, 27 Minnesota Journal of International Law 1 (2018) (symposium foreword)
  • Distinguished Scholar, Dedicated Teacher, and now Justice: David R. Stras, 95 Minnesota Law Review Headnotes 116 (2011) (tribute to Justice David Stras)
  • In Memoriam: Judge Donald P. Lay, 92 Iowa Law Review 1577 (2007)
  • Independence of the Judiciary, State Bar of South Dakota Newsletter 9 (July 2006)
  • Executive Director’s Report, ABA Journal (monthly publication, vols. 82-92, 1996-2006)
  • President’s Column, Minnesota Magazine (bi-monthly publication, 2005-2006)
  • Minute in Remembrance of William B. Lockhart, in Minutes in Remembrance, 1976-1997: Officers and Members of Council Deceased 1976-1997 (American Law Institute, 1998)
  • The Dean of Deans, 92 Minnesota Law & Politics 24 (1998)
  • Foreword, Net Law: How Lawyers Use the Internet (Paul S. Jacobsen, ed., Songline Studios, 1997)
  • Maynard Pirsig Lives On, 23 William Mitchell Law Review 801 (1997)
  • Roger Noreen—Remarkable Friend of Legal Education, 89 Law Library Journal 600 (1997)
  • Trina Grillo—A Passionate Advocate for Justice, 81 Minnesota Law Review 1377 (1997)
  • A Tribute to Irving Younger, 73 Minnesota Law Review 815 (1989)
  • Introduction: Women and the Constitution, 6 Law and Inequality vii (1988)
  • A Tribute to Professor Steven M. Block, 69 Minnesota Law Review 722 (1985)
  • Robert C. McClure: A Tribute on His Retirement, 69 Minnesota Law Review 1217 (1985)
  • A Tribute to Robert F. Grabb, 68 Minnesota Law Review 897 (1984)
  • Arlette M. Soderberg: A Tribute on Her Retirement, 67 Minnesota Law Review xv (1983)
  • Foreword: Carl A. Auerbach: A Tribute, 68 Minnesota Law Review 255 (1983)
  • Specialization in the Probate Bar, 13 American Bar Foundation Research Reporter 1 (1979)
  • Probing the Probate Administration Process, 8:2 Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Section Newsletter 1 (Jan./Feb. 1977)
  • Multi-State Probate Administration Study: Journey into the Known and Unknown, 5:1 Probate and Property 11 (Spring 1976), reprinted in 2 Probate Notes 14 (1976)
  • To Make the Probate Process as Simple and Inexpensive as Can be Done, 32 Bench & Bar of Minnesota 21 (Nov. 1975)
  • Probate Administration: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction, 3:1 Probate and Property 3 (Summer 1974)
  • Profile of Probate Administration in Minnesota, 30 Bench & Bar of Minnesota 5 (Jan. 1974)
  • New Law School Building… A Year of Decision, 42:2 Hennepin Lawyer 4 (Nov.-Dec. 1973)

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