Peter GabelPeter Gabel

Legal Scholar/Educator/Author/Activist

San Francisco State University

Peter Gabel's penned words with co-author Jay Feinman in 1982 did more than serve as one of the founders of the Critical Legal Studies movement. It also provided a blueprint for the reflective and reflexive thinking that would exemplify his life as a lawyer, scholar, educator, author and activist.

The son of actors Arlene Francis and Martin Gabel, Peter Gabel might have been attracted by a career in the entertainment industry, but his desire to make the world a more just place led him to the law.

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and earning a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Wright Institute, Gabel became a vocal proponent of critical legal studies, a movement that challenges the biases, assumptions and class conflicts at the heart of traditional legal institutions. He is the author of many articles and books on law, politics and social change, including "Another Way of Seeing: Essays on Transforming Law, Politics and Culture" and "The Redemptive Power of Law: Finding Spiritual Meaning in Legal Culture and Using it to Create a Better World."

Gabel is a legal scholar and educator committed to using law as a tool of progressive social transformation. He has exemplified that commitment in our community. For nearly 30 years, Gabel taught law at New College of California School of Law, and served more than 20 years as the President of New College in the Mission District. He was the first chair of Berkeley's Police Review Commission and co-founded the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law, and Politics, a national network of attorneys dedicated to finding a new, more empathic approach to the legal system.

In addition to being a college president, law professor and legal scholar, Gabel is a humanist, neighborhood activist and community builder. He created the Arlene Francis Foundation, was a driving force behind the Noe Valley Farmer's Market and organized campaigns to save his neighborhood's corner coffee shop and its independent bookstore.

In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to legal scholarship, our community and our ability to consider a "different order of things," the California State University and San Francisco State University are honored to bestow on Peter Gabel the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.