Painting of Robert H. Mundheim
Up Arrow
Robert H. Mundheim, Dean of the Law School from 1982–1989, received a prestigious award, the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award, from the ABA.
ABA Honors Mundheim for Career Steeped in Ethics and Professionalism
Robert H. Mundheim, former Dean of the Law School, received a high honor in October when the American Bar Association presented him with the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award.

The award from the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility is named for the late director of the State Bar of Michigan and longtime champion of ethics and lawyer regulation in every aspect of the practice of law.

According to the ABA, the Michael Franck Award brings deserved attention to individuals whose career commitments in areas such as legal ethics, disciplinary enforcement and lawyer professionalism demonstrate the best accomplishments of lawyers.

“No award means more to me than receipt of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award,” Mundheim said. “As I look back at my time as Dean, I am particularly proud of innovations we made at Penn in the teaching of professional responsibility: launching the experimental first year mandatory intensive course in Professional Responsibility; building the Center for Professional Responsibility and creating a series of films depicting situations raising ethical issues; and the institution of a mandatory public service requirement for graduation.”

In addition to his efforts to raise the profile of professionalism, ethics and public service at the Law School, Mundheim has made consistent contributions in these areas to the practice of law. Mundheim served on the New York City Bar’s Presidential Task Force on the Lawyer’s Role in Corporate Governance and continues to serve as an expert panelist at legal ethics continuing legal education programs across the United States and in the United Kingdom.

In his involvement with the ABA, Mundheim has been both a member and chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, led the ABA Working Group on Lawyer’s Representation of Regulated Clients, and took leading roles with the Presidential Commission on Multi-Disciplinary Practice and the Presidential Task Force on Corporate Responsibility.

Robert Mundheim is Of Counsel to Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York City, specializing in corporate governance. His exemplary career spans private practice, business, academia, and government service. He taught at the Law School as the University Professor of Law and Finance and was Dean from 1982–1989. Mundheim was Genera Counsel to the US Treasury Department from 1977–1980, playing a prominent role in negotiating the release of U.S. hostages in Iran. He was also a Co-Chairman of Fried Frank, and in 1992 became Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of investment bank Salomon Inc., before returning to private practice at Shearman & Sterling in 1999.

Mundheim is widely admired and world renowned for being a prominent business lawyer and a lawyer whose practice is centered on ethics and professionalism. In a letter of support, his friends and colleagues in the ABA Business Law Section wrote:

“(Robert Mundheim is a) very visible practicing lawyer who has incorporated in every part of his professional life, the values and specifics of professionalism … who has made it his business to preach the professionalism and ethics gospel to all practicing lawyers. The paradigm of the practicing business lawyer who incorporates ethics and professionalism into every part of his professional life.”

In addition to his achievements at the Law School in the areas of professionalism and public service, Mundheim launched the campaign to build Tanenbaum Hall and pushed for a significant increase in the endowment.

Mundheim has received numerous awards including Distinguished Service Awards from the Law School and the Law School’s Law Alumni Society, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Law Institute, the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Lawyer Magazine, the Human Relations Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the Alexander Hamilton Award from the United States Treasury Department, and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.