This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Perry was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He did his undergraduate studies, majoring in philosophy and minoring in theology, at Georgetown University (A.B., 1968). He studied law at Columbia University School of Law (J.D., 1973). Perry then served as law clerk to U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein (1973-74) and, a year later, to U.S. Circuit Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler (1974-75).
In 2003, Perry was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor at Emory University School of Law, the second legal scholar (after Harold J. Berman) to be appointed to a Woodruff chair. (In 2004, Martha Albertson Fineman was appointed to a Woodruff chair.) A Woodruff chair, which is a university chair, is the highest honor Emory University bestows on a member of its faculty. Perry is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University School of Law.
Before coming to Emory, Perry was the inaugural occupant of the Howard J. Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University School of Law (1990-97), where he taught for fifteen years (1982-97). He then held the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University School of Law (1997-2003). Perry began his teaching career at Ohio State University College of Law (1975-82) and has taught as a visiting professor at several law schools, including Yale Law School, Tulane University School of Law, New York Law School, University of Tokyo, University of Alabama School of Law, and University of Western Ontario, Canada. For three consecutive fall semesters (2009, 2010, 2011), Perry was the University Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, where he taught both in the School of Law and in the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
Perry is married to Sarah O'Leary, a public health specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They have two sons: Daniel (b. 1989) and Gabriel (b. 1991).
Perry's books include
In 1999, Perry was awarded an LL.D. (honoris causa) by St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
In March 2004, a symposium of some 500 scholars and students gathered at Emory University School of Law to celebrate the scholarship of its three Robert W. Woodruff Professors of Law, Harold J. Berman, Martha Albertson Fineman, and Michael J. Perry, and of Visiting Professor Martin E. Marty.