Stephen Befort '74
Emeritus Professor Stephen Befort ’74 is a national authority on labor and employment law. He teaches courses in labor law, employment law, employment discrimination, public employment, alternative dispute resolution, comparative labor and employment, and disability in the workplace. Professor Befort served as Director of the Law School's Clinic program from 1982 to 2003, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2000 to 2004, and Associate Dean for Research and Planning from 2012 to 2015.
He was the Julius E. Davis Professor of Law for 1993-94 and was appointed to the Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty, & Bennett Professorship in Law in 2003. Professor Befort has authored six books and more than 60 articles, book chapters, and published papers on labor and employment subjects.
Professor Befort received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated, magna cum laude, from the Law School. After receiving his law degree in 1974, Professor Befort became a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. As a member of the Solicitor General's Office specializing in labor law, he was legal counsel to the Public Employment Relations Board and to the Bureau of Mediation Services. In 1979, he became the Principal Assistant Ramsey County Attorney and served as chief legal counsel to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners. He has appeared as counsel of record in numerous court proceedings, including 20 cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Professor Befort joined the University of Minnesota Law School faculty in 1982. He was honored with the Stanley V. Kinyon Teaching and Counseling Award in both 1993 and 2008 and with the Fesler Research Fellowship in 1997. In 2008, he also received the Minnesota Justice Foundation Outstanding Service Award in the Law Professor category. In addition to teaching at the Law School, Professor Befort frequently lectures on labor and employment law issues. He also serves as a labor arbitrator on both federal and state rosters and has issued more than 300 written decisions.
He was elected to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 2004 and served for three years as a co-editor of the Academy's annually published Proceedings. Professor Befort is past Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section and serves as a member of the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee. In 2002, he was elected to serve as Secretary of the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section and formerly served as Co-Editor of the Section-sponsored ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. He is currently Chair of the International Society of Labor Law and Social Security and Co-Chair of the Labor Law Group. In 2010, he was elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.