Frank E.A. Sander is a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in mathematics in 1949 and from Harvard Law School in 1952.  Sander specializes in alternative dispute resolution and is widely credited with being a father of the field in the United States as a result of his paper, The Varieties of Dispute Processing, presented at the Pound Conference in 1976 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His book, Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation, and Other Processes, which he coauthored with Stephen B. Goldberg, Nancy H. Rogers, and Sarah Rudolph Cole, is used in law schools throughout the United States.
Sander, an expert on taxation, family law and dispute settlement, became professor of law at Harvard Law School in 1962, Bussey Professor in 1981, and served as associate dean from 1987 to 2000. He became Bussey Professor Emeritus in June 2006.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1927, Sander came to the United States in 1940, and attended Brookline High School, Brookline, Massachusetts, before coming to Harvard College in 1944. He received the A.B. degree magna cum laude in mathematics in 1949 (having served a year in the U.S. Army) and the L.L.B. degree magna cum laude in 1952. While a student, he was treasurer of the Harvard Law Review and president of the Pierian Sodality (Harvard Orchestra). He was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After receiving the L.L.B. and before joining the Harvard faculty in 1959, Sander served as law clerk to Chief Judge Magruder of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1952–53) and as law clerk to Justice Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court (1953–54). Following this he was an attorney in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (1954–56) and was associated with the Boston firm of Hill and Barlow (1956–59).
Sander is the co‑author of Cases and Materials on Family Law (3rd edition), initially published by Little Brown in 1966, of Tax Aspects of Divorce and Separation (4th edition), published by BNA in 1985, and of Readings in Federal Taxation (2nd edition), published by Foundation Press in 1983. He has also written a number of articles in the taxation and family law fields, has lectured to numerous bar associations and served as consultant to the United States Treasury Department and the Ontario Law Reform Commission.
In 1966 he was the director of a special summer program at Harvard Law School which brought 40 Black college students to Cambridge for the purpose of interesting them in pursuing a legal career. From 1968 to 1970 Sander served as the chairman of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, a national organization devoted to the recruitment and training of disadvantaged persons for the law.
From 1961 to 1963 Sander served as a member of the Committee on Civil and Political Rights of President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women. In 1970 Sander was appointed by Governor Sargent to the Massachusetts Commission on Adoption and Foster Care. In 1975, he was appointed by Governor Dukakis as chairman of the Massachusetts State Welfare Advisory Board. He was a trustee of the Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge from 1969 to 1975.
In 1975 Sander became active in the subject of alternative methods of dispute resolution. In 1976, at the invitation of the Chief Justice of the United States, he gave a paper entitled "Varieties of Dispute Processing" at the Pound Conference. That paper put forth the notion of the multidoor courthouse, which is presently being utilized in Houston, Texas and Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as several other cities in the US and abroad.
Following the Pound Conference, the American Bar Association set up a special committee on dispute resolution (which later became the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution and ultimately the Section on Dispute Resolution). Sander served as a member of this committee from its inception in 1976 until 1989, and served as its chairman from 1986 to 1989. For a number of years, Sander was chair of the editorial board of the Dispute Resolution Section's Dispute Resolution Magazine.
Sander taught several dispute resolution courses at Harvard Law School, including an introductory overview course, as well as more specialized courses in negotiation and mediation. He also taught a one‑week workshop on mediation for practicing lawyers under the auspices of the Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation.
In 1977 he acted as a special consultant to the ABA to assist it in putting on the Conference on the Resolution of Minor Disputes, at Columbia Law School, and in 1979 he prepared together with Frederick Snyder, an extensive bibliography on dispute resolution that was published by the ABA. In 1980, he became chairman of the Council on the Role of Courts, a group of 26 scholars, lawyers and judges seeking to delineate the proper function of courts in the United States. Their report ‑- The Role of Courts in American Society -‑ was published in 1984. In 1990, Sander was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to the Commission on the Future of the Courts, and served as co‑chair of the Commission's Task Force on Alternative Paths to Justice. Until 2002, he served as vice‑chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court as well as a member of the drafting committee of the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law's project to develop a Uniform Mediation Act.
In 1982, Sander ran a workshop at Harvard Law School for law teachers interested in dispute settlement; the results of that workshop were published in the June 1984 Journal of Legal Education. Sander also helped to put on a major conference on "The Lawyer's Changing Role in Dispute Settlement".
In 1991, Sander helped to put on a conference at Harvard Law School on "Emerging ADR Issues in State and Federal Courts", and he edited a volume growing out of that conference that was subsequently published by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation.
In 1985 Sander, together with Professors Eric Green and Stephen Goldberg, authored a comprehensive book entitled Dispute Resolution published by Little Brown. The book won an award from the Center for Public Resources for the outstanding book on dispute resolution published in that year and is widely used in law schools throughout the United States. The fifth edition, by Goldberg, Sander, Rogers and Cole, was published in 2007.
Sander was also co-director of the Harvard Law School Program on Dispute Resolution.
In May 1988 Sander was awarded the Whitney North Seymour Medal by the American Arbitration Association for distinguished service to arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution. In 1989 the American Bar Association, with funds contributed by the National Institute for Dispute Resolution, established the Frank E.A. Sander Lecture Series on dispute resolution to make possible an annual presentation by a leading scholar or practitioner. In 1990, the Center for Public Resources gave Sander a special award "for distinguished contributions to the field of alternative dispute resolution." In 1993, the American Bar Association awarded Sander its Robert J. Kutak medal given annually to a person "who meets the highest standards of professional responsibility and demonstrates substantial achievement towards increased understanding between legal education and the active practice of law." And in 1999 he was awarded the D'Alemberte‑Raven medal for outstanding contributions to the field of dispute resolution. In 2006, he was awarded the Lifelong Achievement Award by the International Academy of Mediators.
In June 1982 Sander served as faculty chairman to present the first session on dispute resolution at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. In the summer of 1989 he was invited by the Law Council of Australia to give a talk on US dispute resolution at the 26th Australian Legal Convention in Sydney. And in May 1990 Sander was invited to be a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Study Center In Bellagio, Italy. He has also lectured in Germany, South Africa, and Japan, and given one‑week workshops on mediation in Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, and Norway.
Sander has served as a labor arbitrator for over 45 years and is on the roster of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the Massachusetts State Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, as well as being a contractually designated arbitrator for General Electric and the International Union of Electrical Workers. He has also mediated a variety of cases and is one of the court‑approved mediators in the Suffolk (Boston) Superior Court Mediation Program, and in the Middlesex (Cambridge) Multidoor Courthouse Project. In addition, he has served as a grievance mediator for AT&T and the Communications Workers of America, and as a mediator of franchise disputes for the CPR Institute of Dispute Resolution.
He is a member of the American, Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, and lives in Concord, Massachusetts.