Owen Jones appointed to the New York Alumni Chancellor s Chair in Law

Jones works at the intersection of law and biological sciences, directs MacArthur Foundation Law & Neuroscience Project.

Owen Jones, a leading scholar of law and biological sciences, has been appointed to the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law.

His appointment was announced by Dean Chris Guthrie.

Professor Jones was recently named director of a national Law & Neuroscience Project, supported by the MacArthur Foundation and now headquartered at Vanderbilt, after serving as a co-director of the project from 2007 to 2010.

Over the course of his career, Professor Jones has published more than 40 articles, reviews and comments in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed journals in the sciences. His work, which draws heavily from law, behavioral biology, economics, evolutionary biology, psychology and neuroscience, addresses a wide range of legally significant topics, including the law’s engagement with irrational behavior, origins and patterns of sexual coercion, the sources and protection of property rights, and the intuitions and rationales underlying the criminal justice system.

Professor Jones’s law-related publications have appeared in such leading law reviews as the California Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the Northwestern Law Review andthe Vanderbilt Law Review. His science writings have appeared in such top peer-reviewed journals as Current Biology and Neuron. His work has been featured prominently in The Economist and The New York Times Magazine among other venues.

Professor Jones has been actively involved in the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research since 1995, serving as a Research Fellow, conference co-director, and member of multiple committees. In 1998, he became the founding president of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law (SEAL), serving as the organization’s president until 2006.

 “Owen Jones is a leading law and science scholar with particular expertise in evolutionary biology and law as well as law and neuroscience,” Dean Guthrie said. “His work is widely cited and has received substantial attention from the media as well as support from both the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation.”

A 1985 graduate of Amherst College, Professor Jones earned his J.D. at Yale Law School in 1991. Following a clerkship with Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Professor Jones worked as an associate at Covington & Burling for two years before joining the faculty at the Arizona State University College of Law, where he taught for a decade. 

In 2004, Professor Jones joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University, where he currently holds faculty positions in both Vanderbilt Law School and in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences as well as affiliations in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and Vanderbilt’s Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience. During the 2006-07 academic year, he was the law school’s FedEx Research Professor of Law. He has been a visiting professor at both the University of Texas and Vanderbilt.

At Vanderbilt, Professor Jones has taught Contracts and multiple seminars, including an innovative Law & Neuroscience course open to students from multiple disciplines. “Professor Jones is a talented teacher who receives high marks from his students,” Dean Guthrie said. “In addition to his service to interdisciplinary academic organizations, he has served on committees for the law school and university. His appointment to the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law recognizes his exceptional record of scholarship and national reputation in law and science, as well as his teaching and service contributions.”

The New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law was established in 1997 through the combined efforts of a group of Vanderbilt Law alumni living in New York. The chair was previously held by Robert B. Thompson, who joined the faculty of the Georgetown Law Center in 2010.

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