Arthur T. van Mehren

Arthur T. van Mehren

Arthur T. van Mehren was a world-renowned scholar in international and comparative law whose work influenced generations of lawyers across the globe. Van Mehren and his twin brother won scholarships to Harvard and Yale respectively, and Arthur van Mehren graduated phi beta kappa in 1934. Both attended Harvard Law School and were the only twins to have succeeded each other as president of the Law Review. After graduating from the law school in 1949, van Mehren obtained a doctorate in government from Harvard University. In 1946 he was appointed an assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School. Before he began teaching, he spent three years studying law in Germany, France and Switzerland and then returned to Cambridge, where he taught for more than fifty years. Van Mehren was fluent in several languages. He was the author of ten books and hundreds of articles on various aspects of comparative and international law, including conflicts of law and jurisdictions. “Phases of German Civil Procedure”, co-written with HLS professor emeritus Benjamin Kaplan and Rudolf Schaefer, published in 1958, remained as collegues say the gold standard in the field for 50 years. Van Mehren was a member and past president of the American Society of Comparative Law. He has taught in nine countries. In 1966, van Mehren was appointed by the State Department to the U.S. delegation to the Hague Conference on private international law. His work there over decades culminated in the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, finalized at The Hague in 2007, which allows parties to stipulate the jurisdiction in which they litigate international disputes. In 2002, van Mehren’s 80th birthday was celebrated in Harvard Law School including a Festschrift, a collection of academic articles dedicated to van Mehren.

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