Erin O Hara O Connor named to the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law

Apr 3, 2012

Erin O’Hara O’Connor has been appointed to the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law. O’Connor is a leading scholar in the field of conflict of laws. Her work includes three books and a series of significant articles approaching the subject from the perspectives of economics, public choice and positive political theory. She teaches Contracts, Conflict of Laws, Arbitration, and Choosing Legal Regimes.

O’Connor joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty as a professor of law in 2001.  She served as the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs from 2008-10 and as director of the Law and Human Behavior Program from 2007-10. She was Vanderbilt’s FedEx Research Professor of Law in 2010-11 and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies at Ludwig Maximilians Universität Műnchen in fall 2011. O’Connor currently serves as director of graduate studies for Vanderbilt’s Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics. In addition, she is a research associate of the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research. She chaired the American Association of Law Schools Section on Conflict of Laws in 2009-10.

Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty, O’Connor taught at George Mason University School of Law from 1995 to 2001. She has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University School of Law and at Georgetown University Law Center, where she also served as co-director of the Olin Faculty Workshop in Law and Economics, and she was a scholar in residence at Florida State University Law School in summer 2008.

O’Connor is the author, co-author or editor of three books, the most recent of which is the sixth edition of a casebook, Conflict of Laws: Cases and Materials, co-authored with Lea Bilmayer and Jack Goldsmith in 2011. The Law Market, a book co-authored with Larry Ribstein that explores the global trend of corporations and individuals “shopping” for the most favorable legal regime, was published by Oxford University Press in 2009, and a two-volume edited collection, The Economics of Conflict of Laws, was released by Elgar Publishing in 2007. Her recent articles include “Preemption and Choice of Law Coordination,” co-authored with Larry Ribstein (Michigan Law Review, forthcoming); “Customizing Employment Arbitration” with Randall Thomas and Ken Martin (Iowa Law Review, forthcoming); “Organizational Apologies: BP as Case Study” (Vanderbilt Law Review, 2011); “Economics, Behavioral Biology, and Law,” co-authored with Owen Jones and Jeff Stake (Supreme Court Economic Review, 2011); “The Limits of Contract Law Harmonization” (European Journal of Law & Economics, 2011); “Exit and the American Illness,” co-authored with Larry Ribstein (in The American Illness, forthcoming from Yale University Press, Frank Buckley, editor, 2012); and “Outsourcing, Modularity and the Theory of the Firm,” co-authored with Margaret Blair (BYU Law Review, 2011).

Her appointment to the Underwood Chair was announced by Vanderbilt Provost Richard McCarty at a university celebration at the Student Life Center March 26.

“Erin is a widely respected scholar and teacher whose work addresses the intersection of economics, behavior and law as well as choice and conflicts of law,” Dean Chris Guthrie said. “I’m extremely pleased to recognize her prolific scholarship and many contributions to Vanderbilt Law School with this appointment.”

The Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law is one of three chairs honoring Milton R. Underwood endowed by the Fondren Foundation in honor of Milton Underwood, Class of 1928, who was a member of Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust from 1954-82 and a founder of Underwood Neuhaus & Company.


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