zimmermann Reinhard Zimmermann studied law (1972-76) and earned his doctorate (1978) at the University of Hamburg. He was admitted to the bar in Hamburg in 1979. In 1981 he was appointed to the chair of Roman and Comparative Law at the University of Cape Town. In 1988 he returned to Germany to become Professor of Private Law, Roman Law and Comparative Legal History at the University of Regensburg (Bavaria). In 2002, he was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg. In addition, in 2008, he joined the Bucerius Law School as Professor in Legal History.

Professor Zimmermann has held visiting professorships at the Universities of Chicago (Max Rheinstein chair), Tulane, Cornell, Stellenbosch, Edinburgh, Berkeley, Auckland, Yale, Cambridge (A.L. Goodhart Professor of Legal Science and Fellow of St. John’s College) and Oxford (All Souls College). In 1996 he received the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation. He holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Chicago, Aberdeen, Maastricht, Lund, Edinburgh, Cape Town, Lleida, Stellenbosch and McGill. He has served as Dean in Cape Town and Regensburg and as Chairman of the Humanities Division of the Max Planck Society from 2006-2010. In 2011 he was elected Chairman of the Association of Professors of Private Law (Zivilrechtslehrervereinigung) and President of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). He is a member of numerous academies of sciences in Germany and abroad.

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