Robert B. Ahdieh

Dean and Anthony G. Buzbee Endowed Dean's Chair

Robert B. Ahdieh

“Law offers a shared framework for civil discourse and engagement. It is among the most crucial ties that bind us together as a society. As a law school, our vital mission is to educate the designers, builders, and advocates of that framework.”

Get to Know Robert B. Ahdieh

What drew you to the law?

In its earliest form, my interest in law arose out of my longstanding passion for math – and the framework of logical reasoning both systems demanded. Later, as I observed first-hand the attempt to build new democratic societies out of the rubble of the Soviet Union, I was struck by how the corruption of law over decades made accomplishing that goal impossibly difficult. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Everything. As a professor, I think of my “job” as advancing human knowledge. That work takes various critical forms, but there is none more immediately gratifying than when I am engaged in what I think of as teaching the next generation of lawyers and leaders. Perhaps especially when you’re teaching a complex or thorny issue of one sort or another, there is a joy in watching students “get it” – in watching as the lights go on – that no potential hobby could beat!

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

The life of the law is a fast-paced one. The law we learn today is likely to be gone before we know it. Technology, meanwhile, can tell us “the law” – in the sense of what’s on the books – faster and more accurately than anyone. My primary goal for my students, thus, is that I have made them better analysts and advocates of both what the law is and what it should be. That they know how to engage the law – whatever it is – and how to shape it, both in the service of their clients and in the advancement of justice.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I was a law clerk and a litigator. I was honored to serve as a clerk to Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – from whom I learned (among other things) what it means to be a fair and dispassionate judge of the law. Following that, I was a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice – an opportunity to serve my country that I will always cherish.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

My family, of course. My wife and children keep me young, and give me a better reason than I could ever ask for, for wanting to make the world a better place. I also am deeply interested in how our educational system – at all levels – can do a better job of fostering opportunity for all. And likewise in how our communities can best advance equality – between women and men, for underrepresented minorities, and otherwise.

What are your research interests?

In the broadest terms, my scholarly work explores issues of regulatory design. Traditionally, scholars of administrative law and regulation have focused primary attention on normative questions of procedural legitimacy and accountability, as well as questions regarding the efficacy, wisdom, and costs/benefits of regulation. Far more limited attention has been paid to exploring the optimal form and nature of law and regulation – the questions of regulatory design that stand at the heart of my own work.

Publications

Link to my publications.

Expertise

  • Administrative Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Contracts
  • Corporate Law
  • Federalism
  • Financial Regulation
  • International Financial Regulation
  • International Trade Law
  • Russian Law
  • Securities Law

Academic Experience

Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas, 2018 - Present
  • Dean & Anthony G. Buzbee Dean’s Endowed Chair (2018 - Present)
Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia, 2000 - 2018
  • K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law (2014 - 2018)
  • Director, Center on Federalism & Intersystemic Governance (2007 - 2018)
  • Vice Dean (2011 - 2017)
    Areas of active responsibility included:  Admissions, Curriculum (including development of leadership curriculum), Development & Alumni Relations, Non-JD programs, Marketing/Communications, Registrar, Strategic/International initiatives, Student Affairs/Engagement, Career/Professional Development, Cross-campus initiatives, and Finance & Administration (budget, operations, HR & institutional research)
  • Associate Dean of Faculty (2010 - 2011)
  • Professor of Law (2007 - 2014)
  • Assistant & Associate Professor of Law (2000 - 2007)
    Courses included:  Comparative Law, Contracts, Corporate Governance & Federalism, Emerging Markets Law, International Trade Law, and Legislation & Regulation
Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Visiting Professor of Law (Spring 2009)
Columbia University School of Law, New York, New York
  • Visiting Professor of Law (Fall 2008)
Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Visitor (2008-2009)
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 2007 - 2009
  • Visiting Professor, Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs
  • Microsoft/LAPA Fellow, Program in Law and Public Affairs (2007 - 2008)
Additional visiting appointments at Beijing Normal University, Goethe University of Frankfurt, Interdisciplinary Center – Herzliya, Singapore Management University, University of Bergen, University of British Columbia, University of Illinois, University of Warsaw and Yale University

Education

Yale Law School, J.D., 1997
  • Senior Editor, Yale Journal of International Law
  • Research/Teaching Assistant, Judge Guido Calabresi, Professors Paul Gewirtz & Harold Koh
  • Student Leader, Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic (C. LaRue Munson Prize)
Princeton University, A.B., summa cum laude, 1994
  • Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
    Senior Thesis: Russia’s Constitutional Revolution
  • Research Assistant, Professor Richard A. Falk  
  • Editorial Columnist, The Daily Princetonian
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, 1991

Awards / Honors

Honors and Fellowships

Chief Guest, Sixth Annual International Research Conference on Contemporary Legal Scholarship, Symbiosis International University (2017)

American Bar Foundation Fellow (since 2016)

Douglas McK. Brown Visiting Chair in Law, University of British Columbia (2014)

Academic Leadership Program, Emory University (2012)
         Selected for University-wide training program for faculty leadership

Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science (2008-2009)
       Offered visiting Membership for 2008-2009 academic year

Microsoft/LAPA Fellow, Princeton University (2007-2008)
       Selected for fellowship in University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs

American Law Institute – Elected to membership (2007)

Carnegie Scholars Program Finalist (2002)

U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program (1998-2000)

C. LaRue Munson Prize, Yale Law School (1997)

U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (1996-1997)

Yale University Seminar Competition (1997)

Princeton University Academic Research Grant (1993-1994)

Presidential Citation for Public Service (1991)

Other Professional Activities

Member, Humanities, Social Science & Business Studies Selection Panel, PhD Fellowship Scheme, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2017-Present

Chair, Interdisciplinary Studies Subcommittee, University Research Committee, Emory University, 2016-2017 (Member – 2014-2017)

External Academic Advisor, City University of Hong Kong School of Law, 2015-Present

Member, Organizing Committee, Glenn P. Hendrix Lecture on International Arbitration, 2015-2018

Discussant, New Voices in Administrative Law, Association of American Law Schools, Administrative Law Section, 2014-Present

Associated Faculty, Program on Law & the Social Sciences, Emory University, 2007-Present

“Contracts” Lecturer, Law Preview, 2006-Present

Member, Global Strategy Development Task Force, Emory University, 2013-2015

Member, Advisory Board, Barbri, 2013-2015

Member, Laney Graduate School Advisory Council, Emory University, 2012-2015

Member, Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee, Emory University, 2011-2015

Member, Advisory Board, Yale Journal of International Law, 2008-2015

Associated Faculty, Emory Center for Ethics, 2012-2014

Peer Reviewer, Regulation & Governance, 2012-13

Member, External Review Team, University of Arizona Graduate Programs, 2012

Member, Academic Advisory Council, Atlanta International Arbitration Society (ATLAS), 2011-2012

Member, Host Committee, American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting, 2011-2012

Contributing Editor (Blog), Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots), 2009-2012

Member, Conference Committee, International Economic Law Group, American Society of International Law, 2009-2010

Member, Annual Meeting Program Committee, American Society of International Law, 2007-2008

Elected Member, American Law Institute, 2007-​Present