The 10 Most Important Law Professors In America

Lawrence Lessig

Photo: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard

John Yoo – the ex-Justice Department official who wrote the infamous “torture memos” after 9/11 – is back in the news.Yoo and James Cleith Phillips, both professors at the University of California, Berkeley, recently ranked the nation’s law professors based on how frequently their peers cite their work.

While Yoo and Phillips ranked the top 50 “most relevant” professors, we’re just giving you the top 10.

You’ll definitely recognise some names.

10. NYU's Katherine Jo Strandburg

Strandburg is an expert on patent law.

She has also studied how technology affects our lives, including our Constitutional rights.

9. NYU's Ronald Dworkin

A professor of both law and philosophy, Dworkin is an authority on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.

He has also written controversial works, including the book 'Religion without God' and an article on physician-assisted suicide.

8. Duke's Wesley Cohen

Cohen is a professor of law and business at Duke, and he's an expert on intellectual property rights.

He's on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

7. NYU's Richard Epstein (who tied with Cohen in the rankings)

Epstein is known for his conservative stances.

He has attacked the constitutionality of health reform, critisized Amazon's low prices, and claimed Barack Obama was never offered tenure at the University of Chicago's law school, where Epstein previously taught.

6. Yale's Akhil Reed Amar

Amar is a famous Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court guru.

He famously told the Washington Post's Ezra Klein that he's only mispredicted one big Supreme Court case in the past two decades: Bush v. Gore.

6. Harvard's Lawrence Lessig

A famous political liberal, Lessig has been an authority on privacy and technology and, more recently, campaign finance.

He formerly served on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

4. Yale's William Eskridge

Eskridge, an authority on sexual orientation and the law, wrote the book 'Gaylaw,' which influenced the Supreme Court's analysis in its opinion striking down Texas' sodomy laws.

He supports gay marriage but has spoken out against the Supreme Court's hearing the issue when so many states still oppose it, according to this New York Times editorial.

3. Eric Posner

Eric Posner, the son of influential appellate judge Richard Posner, is frequently cited on international law and is an outspoken critic of the International Criminal Court.

2. Harvard's Laurence Tribe

Tribe is a leading Constitutional law scholar who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 35 times.

The New York Times has called him a 'liberal legal icon' who's arguably the nation's most famous scholar of the Supreme Court and the Constitution.

1. Stanford's Mark Lemley

Lemley is a pioneer in technology law and has shared his opinion on patent law in The New York Times, NPR and Bloomberg.

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