Christopher Edley, Jr. joined Boalt Hall as dean and professor of law in 2004, after 23 years as a professor at Harvard Law School. He earned a law degree and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University, where he served as an editor and officer of the Harvard Law Review. Edley's academic work is primarily in the areas of civil rights and administrative law. He has also taught federalism, budget policy, Defense Department procurement law, national security law, and environmental law. Edley was co-founder of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, a renowned multidisciplinary research and policy think tank focused on issues of racial justice.
His publications include Not All Black and White: Affirmative Action, Race and American Values and Administrative Law: Rethinking Judicial Control of Bureaucracy.
Following graduation, Edley joined President Carter's administration as assistant director of the White House domestic policy staff, where his responsibilities included welfare reform, food stamps, child welfare, disability issues, and social security. He served as national issues director throughout the 1987-88 Dukakis presidential campaign, and then as a senior adviser on economic policy for President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992. In the Clinton administration, he worked as associate director for economics and government at the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995. There, he oversaw a staff of 70 civil servants responsible for White House oversight of budget, legislative and management issues in five cabinet departments (Justice, Treasury, Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, Commerce) and a diverse group of over 40 autonomous agencies, including: FEMA, FCC, General Services Administration, SBA, SEC, CFTC, EEOC, the bank regulatory agencies, and the District of Columbia. In 1995 he was also special counsel to the President, directing the White House review of affirmative action. He later served the Clinton White House in 1997 as a consultant to the President's advisory board on the race initiative.
From 1999-2005, Edley served as a congressional appointee on the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2001, he was a member of the Carter-Ford National Commission on Federal Election Reform. He is currently a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and of The Century Foundation. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Law Institute. He also serves on the executive committee of the advisory board for the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council, which is the research arm of the National Academies of Sciences. At UC Berkeley, he is founder and faculty-Co-Director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, a multidisciplinary think tank.