Born in Bronx on July 17, 1949, Evan Chesler received an A.B. degree from New York University with highest honors in history, and then an M.A. from Hunter College in Russian area studies.
He received a law degree cum laude from New York University School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif, and was Topics Editor of the Law Review, a junior fellow at the Center for International Studies, was co-author of two published articles on aspects of international law, recipient of the John Norton Pomeroy Prize for academic excellence two times and also of the Benjamin Butler Prize. Upon graduation, he became a law clerk to Inzer B. Wyatt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
He joined Cravath in 1976 as a litigation associate, becoming partner in 1982, and head of the Litigation Department in 1996. In November 2005, he was elected Deputy Presiding Partner, and on January 1, 2007, the law firm's 14th Presiding Partner. Effective January 1, 2013, he became Chairman of the firm, the first person to hold that title in the history of the firm.
Additionally, Chesler is an adjunct professor at New York University Law School and has taught at NYU’s College of Arts and Science. He is on the boards of both New York University and the New York University School of Law. He received his undergraduate and legal degrees from NYU, and holds a master’s degree in Russian area studies from Hunter College.
On November 18, 2014, the Board of Trustees of The New York Public Library announced that, effective that day, Chesler, 65, will succeed Neil L. Rudenstine as its next chairman.
“It is my great honor to serve as chairman of this fine institution, which has shaped my life in so many important ways,” said Chesler. “As a latch-key kid growing up in the Bronx, I spent my childhood in my local New York Public Library branch. As an adult, the wealth of materials at the 42nd Street building helped me prepare for law school, a career that has served me well. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to give something back to the Library, which continues to change the lives of countless people just like me every day.”