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Herma Hill Kay Edit Profile

Herma Hill Kay, American law educator. Bar: California 1960, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1978. Recipient Research award, American Bar Foundation, 1990, Margaret Brent award, American Bar Association Commission Women in Profession, 1992, Marshall-Wythe medal, 1995; fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Science, Palo Alto, California, 1963.


Kay, Herma Hill was born on August 18, 1934 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, United States. Daughter of Charles Esdorn and Herma Lee (Crawford) Hill.


She studied English at Southern Methodist University and graduated magna cum laude in 1956. She then attended law school at the University of Chicago, graduating third in her class in 1959.


She previously served as dean of Boalt from 1992 to 2000. She specializes in family law and conflict of laws. At SMU, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

After law school, she clerked for one year for Justice Roger Traynor of the California Supreme Court. She joined the faculty at Boalt Hall in 1960 and became dean of that faculty in 1992. In 1966, Kay served on the California Governor's Commission on the Family, which proposed that California adopt a no-fault regime for divorce.

The state of California adopted a law based on that recommendation, the first of its kind in the United States, in 1970. Along with Robert Levy, she was co-reporter of the committee that prepared the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. In 1985, Kay was elected to the Council of the American Law Institute.

Kay was president of the Association of American Law Schools in 1989 and secretary of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 1999 to 2001. In 1999, the Boalt Hall Women's Association created a fellowship in Kay's name to support students pursuing "public interest work benefiting women.".


Trustee Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1972—1987, chairman board trustees, 1980—1984. Trustee, board directors Equal Rights Advisers, California, 1987—1988, chairman, 1976—1983. President board directors Rosenberg Foundation, 1987—1988, board directors, since 1978.

Member of American Bar Association (section legal education and admissions to bar council 1992-1999, secretary 1999—2001), Order of Coif (national president 1983-1985), American Philosophical Society, American Academy Arts and Sciences, Association American Law Schools (executive committee 1986-1987, president-elect 1988, president 1989, past president 1990), American Law Institute (member council since 1985), California Women Lawyers (board governors 1975-1977), Bar Supreme Court of the United States Court, California Bar Association.