Lawrence B. Solum is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure, and the philosophy of law. Professor Solum contributes to debates in constitutional theory and normative legal theory. He is especially interested in the intersection of law with the philosophy of language and with moral and political philosophy. His series of articles on constitutional originalism have shaped contemporary thinking about the great debate between originalism and constitutional theory. Professor Solum’s original theory of the fundamental nature and purpose of law, “Virtue Jurisprudence,” has been debated and discussed in Asia, Europe, and North America. He also works on problems of law and technology, including Internet governance, copyright policy, and patent law. His pathbreaking article, “Legal Personhood for Artificial Intelligences,” published in the early 1990s is widely acknowledged as “far ahead of its time.”
Professor Solum received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and received his B.A. with highest departmental honors in philosophy from the University of California at Los Angeles. While at Harvard, he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he worked for the law firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York, and then clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.
Prior to arriving at Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Solum was a member of the faculties at the University of Illinois, the University of San Diego, and the Loyola Marymount University and visited at Boston University and the University of Southern California. He has won teaching awards at both Georgetown and the University of San Diego. He regularly teaches Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law. His other teaching includes seminars in constitutional theory and the philosophy of law as well as courses in conflict of laws, federal courts, intellectual property, and internet law and governance.
Professor Solum’s books include “Constitutional Theory Arguments and Perspectives,” “Constitutional Originalism,” “法理词典 (The Legal Theory Lexicon),” “Virtue Jurisprudence,” “Moore’s Federal Practice,” and “Destruction of Evidence.” He has published more than eighty articles in law reviews and philosophy journals, including the Harvard Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the University of Michigan Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.
Professor Solum is also the Editor of Legal Theory Blog, an influential weblog that focuses on developments in contemporary normative and positive legal theory. The “Legal Theory Lexicon” (published on Legal Theory Blog each Sunday) provides concise introductions to key concepts in legal theory for law students and others.
Professor Solum testified in 2017 on originalism at the judicial confirmation hearings of Justice Neil Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has testified to the advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the California State Assembly, and the California State Senate. His work on the economics of the domain name system has had a shaping influence on the work of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Professor Solum has spoken to the dozens of law faculties, including those at Arizona State University, Boston University, Columbia University, Fordham University, Notre Dame, Ohio State University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Southern California and participated in conferences, symposia, and programs sponsored by Cardozo Law School, Chicago-Kent Law School, DePaul Law School, Harvard Law School, Loyola Marymount University, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, the University of Virginia, the and Tulane Law School. He has also delivered addresses to the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, AMINTAPHIL, the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, the Course on Philosophy and Social Science at Inter-University Centre for Postgraduate Studies of Dubrovnik, Croatia, the Midwest Political Science Association, the International Association of Constitutional Law Roundtable, the Philosophy Programme at the University of London, and the World Congress of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy.
Professor Solum is an accomplished photographer, with public galleries available on Flickr and PBase. He loves music of all kinds, including the great jazz pianist Patricia Barber, the great master of the Oud, Anouar Brahem, and the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. He first decided to become a law professor at the age of fourteen, when he began to take the bus after school to the County of Los Angeles Law Library to read both Supreme Court cases and legal history.
Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals
"Why senators shouldn’t ask Brett Kavanaugh about controversial cases," coverage by Quartz, August 28, 2018, quoting Professors Randy Barnett and Lawrence Solum.
"Harvard's Richard Fallon wins the 2019 Cooley Book Prize," coverage in Reason, July 25, 2018, featuring Professor Lawrence Solum.
"Crucial question is whether Kavanaugh is a movement conservative, says Cass Sunstein," coverage by Their View, July 12, 2018, quoting Professor Lawrence Solum.
"The Founders Would Not Recognize Originalism—Why Should We?," coverage by History News Network, July 8, 2018, quoting Professor Lawrence B. Solum.