Listen: 2012 Alumni Collection
Paul Brest is the president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, and serves as the director of its Philanthropy Program.
After graduating from Swarthmore, Brest received an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1965. He then served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan and practiced with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc., in Jackson, Miss., doing civil rights litigation.
In 1969, Brest joined the faculty of Stanford Law School, where he was the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law. His research and teaching focused on constitutional law and decision making. His writings in constitutional law include articles on constitutional interpretation, race discrimination, and affirmative action. He also co-authored a book, Processes of Constitutional Decision Making.
From 1987 to 1999, Brest served as the dean of Stanford Law School where he spearheaded the expansion of the school's curriculum in business, environmental law, high technology, and negotiation, and led a $115 million capital campaign. He has also served as a visiting professor at Yale Law School and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
In 1991, Swarthmore awarded Brest an honorary doctor of laws degree. He also holds an honorary degree from Northeastern Law School and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.