Brian Z. Tamanaha

William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law


B.S., 1980, University of Oregon
J.D., 1983, Boston University
S.J.D., 1992, Harvard University

Curriculum Vitae




Nancy Cummings - (314) 935-7967

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-8242
E-mail: btamanaha@wustl.edu  


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 583

Courses Taught

Comparative Law
Legal Profession


Professor Brian Z. Tamanaha is a renowned jurisprudence and law and society scholar, and the author of eight books and numerous scholarly articles. Three of his books have received book awards, including A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society, which won two prizes, one in legal theory one in law and society. His book, On the Rule of Law, has been translated into five languages, and altogether his publications have been translated into eight languages. He has delivered public lectures in a dozen countries, including the Kobe Memorial Lecture in Japan, the Julius Stone Lecture in Australia, and the Montesquieu Lecture in The Netherlands, as well as four endowed lectures at U.S. law schools. He spent a year in residence as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he completed Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide. In 2013, a National Jurist poll of 300 law deans and professors voted Professor Tamanaha #1 Most Influential Legal Educator, owing to his critical examination of the legal academy, Failing Law Schools. Professor Tamanaha has twice been selected Professor of the Year by student vote. Before becoming a law professor, he clerked for the Hon. Walter E. Hoffman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Hawaii, was an Assistant Attorney General for Yap State in Micronesia, and was Legal Counsel for the 1990 Micronesian Constitutional Convention. After these varied practice experiences, he earned a Doctorate of Juridical Science with a focus on legal theory at Harvard Law School.

Representative Publications

Selected Recent Books and Book Chapters

  • Failing Law Schools (Chicago University Press 2012)(Korean translation, Mirae Books Co., forthcoming 2013; Japanese translation, Kaden Sha 2013, Chinese translation, Law Press China, forthcoming 2016)
  • Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2010)
  • Law as a Means to an End: Threat to the Rule of Law (N.Y.: Cambridge University Press 2006)(Chinese translation, Peking University Press, forthcoming 2013)(pages 219-224 excerpted in Lloyd’s Introduction to Jurisprudence 2014)
  • The Perils of Pervasive Legal Instrumentalism Montesquieu Lecture Series, Vol. 1 (Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers 2006)
  • On The Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004)(Ukrainian translation, 2007; Chinese translation, Wuhan University Press, 2010; Spanish translation, Universidad Externado Press, 2012; Japanese translation, Gendai Jinbunsha 2012; Korean translation, Pakyoungsa 2014)
  • A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001)(Chinese translation, Chinese University of Political Science and Law Press 2012)

Recent Articles and Essays

  • "Insights about the Nature of Law From History," Kobe Memorial Lecture, Archiv fur Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (forthcoming, 2015)
  • "The Knowledge and Policy Limits of New Institutional Economics on Development,"Journal of Economic Issues (forthcoming, 2015)
  • "The Third Pillar of Jurisprudence," Wythe Lecture, 56 William & Mary Law Review 2235 (2015)
  • "Always Imperfectly Achieved Rule of Law" (Response to Jeremy Waldron), Global Constitutionalism (forthcoming 2015)(by invitation)
  • "The Mounting Evidence Against 'The Formalist Age'," 92 Texas Law Review (forthcoming 2014)(by invitation)
  • "Why Law Schools are Failing," Engage, Journal of the Federalist Society (2014)
  • "The Unrecognized Triumph of Historical Jurisprudence," 91 Texas Law Review 615 (2013)(review article)(by invitation)
  • "The Failure of Crits and Leftist Law Professors to Defend Progressive Causes," 24 Stanford Law & Policy Review 309 (2013)(by invitation)
  • "The Problems with Income Based Repayment, and the Charge of Elitism: Response to Schrag and Chambliss," 26 Georgetown J. Legal Ethics 521 (2013)(symposium on Failing Law Schools)
  • "Is Law School Worth the Cost?" 63 Journal of Legal Education 173 (2013)(by invitation)
  • "Legal Educators Defending the Status Quo," 41 Washington University Journal of Law & Public Policy 131 (2013)(by invitation)
  • "The History and Elements of the Rule of Law," Plenary Address, (2012) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 232 (2012)
  • "What is 'General Jurisprudence'? A Critique of Universalistic Claims by Philosophical Concepts of Law," 2 Transnational Legal Theory287 (2012)
  • "The Several Meanings of 'Politics' in Judicial Politics Studies: Why 'Ideological Influence' is not 'Partisanship'," 61 Emory Law Journal 759 (2012)(symposium)
  • "The Rule of Law and Legal Pluralism in Development," 3 Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 1 (2011)