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Faculty Spotlight


History and comparative law ... teach that tradition is neither necessary nor inevitable, but instead the contingent outcome of a struggle in which particular groups seek to advance their own strategic interests. And that is, in my view, precisely the point of the scholarly endeavor. By questioning the necessity or inevitability of tradition, it frees the present from the grip of the past and removes the blinders that inhere in an overly local and narrow perspective–thereby making change possible.

FROM "THE MAKING AND DEBUNKING OF LEGAL TRADITION" (COMPARATIVE LAW SYMPOSIUM), ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW (FORTHCOMING, FALL 2010)


Amalia D. Kessler
Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies,

A scholar whose research focuses on the evolution of commercial law and civil procedure, Amalia Kessler (MA ’96, PhD ’01) seeks to explore the roots of modern market culture and present-day process norms. In 2007–08, she received a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, supporting research on her current book project concerning the 19th-century origins of American adversarial legal culture–including the forgotten history of equity procedure and its implications for comparative legal scholarship. In 2008, her book, A Revolution in Commerce: The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France (Yale University Press, 2007), was awarded the American Historical Association’s J. Russell Major Prize for the best book in English on any aspect of French history. And in 2005, she received the Surrency Prize from the American Society for Legal History for the best article in the previous year’s volume of the Law and History Review. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2003, she was a trial attorney in the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice and clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Kessler has an appointment (by courtesy) with the Stanford University Department of History.


When a company is bankrupt and sells off its old factory and stuff, the people who buy those assets in those sorts of asset sales are not liable.

ON WHO'S LIABLE FOR RECALLED PRODUCTS WHEN COMPANIES MERGE, IN THE WASHINGTON POST, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008



James and Patricia Kowal Professor of Law,

Alan Sykes conducts research on international economic relations and writes and teaches on international trade, torts, contracts, insurance, antitrust, and economic analysis of law. He co-authored a market-leading casebook on international trade law and has written extensively on the World Trade Organization system as well as international currency manipulation, transnational forum shopping, and the economics of state responsibility under international law. Sykes has served on the executive committee and board of the American Law and Economics Association, and currently reports for the American Law Institute Project on Principles of Trade Law: The World Trade Organization. He is associate editor of the Journal of International Economic Law, and a member of the board of editors of The World Trade Review. He teaches through the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, is a senior fellow (by courtesy) at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Center for International Development, and directs the Masters Program in International Economic Law, Business, and Policy.


Individual interrogators or lawyers [involved in the harsh interrogation of terrorist detainees] may be subject to criminal prosecution outside the United States. Torture is an offense subject to universal jurisdiction, and under the Torture Convention, any state party may potentially prosecute acts of torture no matter where they have occurred.

“THE TORTURE MEMOS AND ACCOUNTABILITY,” AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW INSIGHTS, MAY 2009


Allen S. Weiner
SCICN Co-Director and Senior Lecturer in Law,

With expertise in international and national security law, the law of war, international dispute resolution, and international criminal law, Allen Weiner focuses his scholarship on international security and conflict resolution issues. He is co-author of a leading international law casebook. For 11 years, Weiner practiced at the U.S. Department of State, where he advised government policymakers, negotiated international agreements, and represented the United States in litigation before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal and the International Court of Justice. He also served as legal counselor to the U.S. Embassy in The Hague and attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Weiner directs the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law and is the co-director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation.


It sends a clear message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is going to be a leader in human rights again, we’re going to be the country that everyone admires and respects.

ON PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SIGNING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO CLOSE THE GUANTANAMO BAY PRISON WITHIN ONE YEAR, ON ABC-7 NEWS, JANUARY 22, 2009


Jenny S. Martinez
Associate Dean for Curriculum, Professor of Law and Warren Christopher Professor in the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy,
Associate Dean for Curriculum,

Jenny Martinez is an expert on international courts and tribunals, international human rights, and the laws of war. Her scholarly work on the roles of courts and tribunals in advancing human rights touches on everything from 19th century international tribunals on the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the role of the courts in policing human rights abuses in the “war on terror.” Martinez argued the 2004 case of Rumsfeld v. Padilla before the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to clarify constitutional protections for post-9/11 “enemy combatants” who are U.S. citizens. Experience prior to Stanford includes clerking for Justice Stephen Breyer (BA ’59) of the U.S. Supreme Court, and working as an associate legal officer for Judge Patricia Wald of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.