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@wulaw.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

Forthcoming Scholarship

  • “A Vision of Socio-Legal Change: Rescuing Ehrlich From Living Law,” 36 Law and Social Inquiry (forthcoming 2011)
  • “The Primacy of Society and the Failures of Law and Development,” 44 Cornell International Law Journal (forthcoming 2011)
  • “Balanced Realism about Judging,” 44 Valparaiso Law Review (forthcoming 2010)
  • “Are We Safer From Terrorism? No—But We Can Be” 28 Yale Law and Policy Review (forthcoming 2010) (by invitation)

Selected Recent Books and Book Chapters

  • Beyond the Formalist–Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging, Princeton University Press (2009)
  • On The Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory, Cambridge University Press (2004); Ukrainian translation (2007); Chinese translation, Wuhan University Press (2010)
  • Law as a Means to an End: Threat to the Rule of Law, Cambridge University Press (2006); Chinese translation, Peking University Press (forthcoming 2012)
  • “Law and Society,” A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (ed. D. Patterson), Blackwell Publishers (2d ed., 2009)
  • “Law,” Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (ed. S. Katz et. al), Oxford University Press (2009)
  • “A Concise Guide to the Rule of Law,” Relocating the Rule of Law (eds. G. Palombella & N. Walker), Hart Publishing (2009)
  • “On the Instrumental View of Law in American Legal Culture,” On Philosophy in American Law (ed. F.J. Mootz), Cambridge University Press (2009)
  • “Core Elements of Legal Pluralism,” The Response of the Law to the Expression of Cultural Diversity (ed. M.C. Foblets), Bruyland Publishers (2009)

Recent Articles and Essays

  • “Understanding Legal Realism,” 87 Texas Law Review 731 (2009)
  • “The Distorting Slant in Quantitative Studies of Judging,” 50 Boston College Law Review 685 (2009)
  • “The Realism of Judges Past and Present,” Baker and Hostetler Lecture, 57 Cleveland-Marshall Law Review 77 (2009)
  • “Understanding Legal Pluralism: Past to Present, Local to Global,” Julius Stone Address, 30 Sydney Law Review 375 (2008); reprinted in Legal Theory and the Social Sciences (ed. M. Del Mar and M. Giudice), Ashgate (forthcoming 2011)