James C. Gaither Professor of Law and Vice Dean
Mark Kelman has tried, over the course of his career, to utilize the insights of neoclassical and behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and political theory to illuminate a wide range of legal and policy controversies. He has paid special attention to antidiscrimination law (and most particularly disability law), criminal law, and taxation. He has written both articles and books that emphasize basic theory (e.g. THE HEURISTICS DEBATE, Oxford University Press 2011 or A GUIDE TO CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES, Harvard University Press 1987, and a project on INJURIES that he is working on now, attempting both to elucidate what it means to be injured and why certain practices or outcomes – poverty, discrimination, sexual harassment, and death – are or are not injurious) as well as works that apply theoretical insights more directly to legal controversies (e.g. JUMPING THE QUEUE, with Gillian Lester, Harvard University Press, 1997 and the recently published, WHAT IS IN A NAME? TAXATION AND REGULATION ACROSS CONSTITUTIONAL DOMAINS, Carolina Academic Press, 2019). He employs a wide variety of methods in his work, from experiments (e.g. “Playing with Trolleys: Intuitions About the Permissibility of Aggregation,” with Tamar Kreps, JELS, 2014) to doctrinal analysis (e.g. “Untangling Horne, Resuscitating Nollan,” 104 Cornell Law Review Online, 2018) to eclectic pieces that blend empirical and conceptual analyses of contested social practices (e.g. “Concepts of Discrimination in ‘General Ability’ Job Testing,” Harvard Law Review, 1991 and “Hard Choices and Deficient Choosers,” Northwestern Journal of Law and Policy, 2018). He has, for many decades, taught first year courses in Property and Criminal Law and will, for the first time this academic year, offer a course attempting to synthesize the recurring themes and arguments that cut across the law school curriculum. He has also now served as Vice Dean at the Law School for the past fifteen years. Before joining the Stanford Law faculty in 1977, he served as Director of Criminal Justice Projects at the Fund for the City of New York.