Following law school, Herma Hill Kay was law clerk to Justice Roger Traynor of the California Supreme Court. She joined the Boalt faculty in 1960 and received the UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1962. She served as dean of Boalt Hall from 1992 to 2000. In 1998 Kay was named one of the 50 most influential female lawyers in the country and one of the eight most influential lawyers in Northern California by the National Law Journal
Kay has delivered major lectures at the law schools of the University of Illinois and the University of Cincinnati and the Hague Academy of International Law. She served as president of the Association of American Law Schools in 1989 and as secretary of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 1999 to 2001. Kay is currently a member of the Council of the American Law Institute. She has received many major awards, including the Society of American Law Teachers Teaching Award, the 1990 American Bar Foundation Research Award and the 1992 Margaret Brent Award to Women Lawyers of Distinction from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. In 2000 she was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society.
Kay has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences and a visiting professor at Harvard University, Lewis & Clark University and Hamline University. She served on the faculty of the Salzburg Seminar on American Law in 1987. Kay is a past or present member of 12 different governing or advisory boards, including the Russell Sage Foundation, Equal Rights Advocates, Inc., Order of the Coif and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2003 the Boalt Hall Alumni Association presented her with its first Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Citation Award Dinner.
B.A., Southern Methodist University (1956)
J.D., University of Chicago (1959)