Federalist Society Honors Joshua Kleinfeld with Paul M. Bator Award

February 24, 2015

Video: 2015 Bator Award: Prof. Joshua Kleinfeld

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies honored Northwestern Law associate professor Joshua Kleinfeld with its national 2015 Paul M. Bator Award at the society’s annual student symposium on February 21. The award recognizes an academic under 40 for “excellence in legal scholarship, commitment to teaching, concern for students, and significant public impact.”

A member of the Northwestern Law faculty since 2011, Kleinfeld writes and teaches about criminal law and procedure, international and comparative law, and moral, political, and legal philosophy. Much of his scholarship brings an international and philosophical perspective to bear on issues of criminal justice.

Kleinfeld’s legal publications include “Embodied Ethical Life and Criminal Law” in the forthcoming volume, The New Philosophy of Criminal Law, “A Theory of Criminal Victimization” in Stanford Law Review, “Skeptical Internationalism: A Study of Whether International Law is Law” in Fordham Law Review, and “Enforcement and the Concept of Law” in Yale Law Journal Online.  

A devoted teacher, Kleinfeld regularly teaches the first-year course in criminal law and has served as a mentor for many students. He was selected to be a fellow with Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching.

Northwestern Law students Brendan Jordan (JD ’16) and Shams Hirji (JD ’17) describe Kleinfeld’s teaching style as innovative with an infectious passion that students immediately absorb. Hirji goes on to note, “He listens intently to each of us and he expects every one of us to make meaningful contributions in class. “

Kleinfeld holds a JD and BA from Yale University and is a PhD candidate in philosophy with Axel Honneth and Rainer Forst at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. He clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Aharon Barak, who was at the time of the clerkship (summer 2003) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. As an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in Germany, he worked on issues in international criminal law.

Kleinfeld was a member of the Federalist Society as a law student, and has maintained a relationship with the organization throughout his professional career, including receiving the Olin-Searle-Smith fellowship in support of his graduate work in Germany.

“An award is defined by its recipients. The past recipients of this award represent some of the leading figures in the law today. And so this award is not only a great honor, but also a daunting one. I take it as a challenge for me to live up to the standard set by those past recipients,” noted Kleinfeld in his remarks at the awards ceremony.

The Paul M. Bator award was established in 1989 in memory of Professor Paul M. Bator, a renowned scholar of constitutional law and federal jurisdiction. Past recipients include Northwestern Law professors Eugene Kontorovich (2012) and John McGinnis (1997). 

Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.