Merton Bernstein, retired law professor, public servant, and Founding Board Member of the Academy was an Honoree at the Academy’s 30th Anniversary Celebration.  Bernstein was recognized for his public service in education and government and as an advocate of Social Security. 

“Mert Bernstein was one of the strongest proponents of the Academy as a Membership organization,” said William Arnone, CEO of the Academy. “Mert also emphasized the importance of encouraging younger people to enter into the social insurance field and, as a result, helped develop its first internship program.”

After Merton Bernstein received his A.B. from Oberlin College and his LL.B. from Columbia University, he became an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board.  He served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittees on Labor and Railroad Retirement and special counsel to National Enforcement Commission of the Economic Stabilization Administration during the Korean War.

In 1958, he began teaching as a law professor. After stints at Ohio State University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Leiden University, he taught for over 25 years at Washington University – St. Louis School of Law where he eventually earned the title of Walter D. Coles Professor of Law Emeritus.  Bernstein founded and directed the Congressional & Administrative Law Program at St. Louis School of Law, where students worked full-time in Congressional offices or at a federal administrative agency full-time.

Bernstein authored multiple books, research papers, and news articles dedicated to health care issues, Social Security, and pensions.  His work was featured in journals such as the Columbia Law Review and Industrial and Labor Relations Review and newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Atlanta Journal, and the Des Moines Register.  In recent years, he also used his knowledge to help the federal government administer social insurance programs.  These positions include: member of the Secretary of the Treasury’s Advisory Committee on the Integration of Pensions and Security, chair of the Social Security Administration’s Advisory Committee on Research, and advisor to the Committee on Retirement Income of the White House Conference on Aging. 

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