Deborah R. Hensler

Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution
Stanford Law School

Deborah R. Hensler is the Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution at Stanford Law School, where she teaches courses on complex and transnational litigation, arbitration law and policy, the legal profession, and empirical research methods.

Professor Hensler’s empirical research on dispute resolution, complex litigation, class actions, and mass claims has won international recognition. A political scientist and public policy analyst who was the director of the RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice before joining the Stanford Law School faculty, she has testified before state and federal legislatures in the United States on issues ranging from alternative dispute resolution to asbestos litigation and mass torts and consulted with judges and lawyers within and outside of the United States on the design of class action regimes. Professor Hensler is the organizer of the Stanford Globalization of Class Actions Exchange (, which is spearheading international collaborative research on class actions and group litigation procedures by scholars in Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and the Middle East. Noted for her decades-long scholarship on asbestos litigation and class actions in the United States, her research and publications have described and interpreted the trajectory of mass claims world-wide. She is the lead author of Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain (RAND, 2000), co-editor of The Globalization of Class Actions (Sage, 2009), and co-editor and lead author of Class Actions in Context: How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation (Elgar, 2016).

At Stanford, Prof. Hensler teaches seminars on complex litigation, transnational litigation, arbitration law and policy, the legal profession, and research design for empirical legal studies. With Dean Emeritus Paul Brest, she co-founded the law school’s Policy Laboratory and helped shepherd it in its early years. She has taught graduate level courses at Universidade Catolica de Lisboa, Hong Kong University, the University of Melbourne (Australia), Paris Dauphine University and guest lectured at Tilburg University (Netherlands), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Nagoya University (Japan), and Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Buenos Aires).

Professor Hensler is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science and was awarded a personal chair in empirical studies of mass claims resolution by Tilburg University (Netherlands). In 2014, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by Leuphana University (Germany). She serves on the RAND Institute for Civil Justice Board of Advisors and on the advisory board of the Civil Justice Research Institute, a joint project of the University of California, Irvine, and the University of California Berkeley Law School. In 2018, she served on the Academic Expert Panel for the Litigation Funding Inquiry of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

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