James C. Oldham

St. Thomas More Professor of Law and Legal History

B.S., Duke; LL.B., Stanford; M.S.B.A., University of Denver

Areas of Expertise:

Contracts, Labor and Employment Law, Legal History

In addition to his teaching duties at the Law Center, Professor Oldham spends time in London doing manuscript research in English legal history. His major...

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In addition to his teaching duties at the Law Center, Professor Oldham spends time in London doing manuscript research in English legal history. His major work is The Mansfield Manuscripts and the Growth of English Law in the Eighteenth Century, two volumes, published by the University of North Carolina Press for the American Society for Legal History. An updated one-volume abridgement of this work was published by UNC Press in 2004. In 2006, another book by Professor Oldham, Trial by Jury: The Seventh Amendment and Anglo-American Special Juries, was published by New York University Press. Professor Oldham collects books from and about early modern England and teaches seminars on English legal history and the history of the jury. He also teaches Contracts, Labor Law, and Labor Arbitration. He specialized in labor law during his practice after law school with the Denver firm of Sherman and Howard. Since coming to Georgetown, as time permits, he serves as a labor arbitrator. He is currently the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator for the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association, a salary arbitrator for Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, and Appeals Panel member for the NFL & NFLPA. He has also served as the chair of the Foreign Service Grievance Board at the State Department and has performed extensive arbitration work in the steel and aluminum industries. For almost thirty years he has been a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, and he served as President in 2013-2014. Professor Oldham has published numerous articles on legal history and on labor and employment law.

Recent Scholarship

Books

  • Case Notes of Sir Soulden Lawrence, 1787-1800 (James Oldham ed., London: Selden Society 2013).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • James Oldham, The Historically Shifting Sands of Reasons to Arbitrate, 2016 J. Disp. Resol. 41-54.    [HEIN] [W]
  • James Oldham & Su Jin Kim, Arbitration in America: The Early History, 31 Law & Hist. Rev. 241-266 (2013).    [HEIN] [W]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • James Oldham, Presidential Address: Historical Perspectives on the Judicial Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements, in Arbitration 2014: The Test Of Time: Proceedings of the Sixty-Seventh Annual Meeting, National Academy of Arbitrators, Chicago, Illinois, May 21-24, 2014 24-35 (Richard N. Block, Charles Feigenbaum, Rose Jacobs, Susan Grody Ruben, Mary Ellen Shea & Jan Stiglitz eds., Arlington, Va: Bloomberg BNA 2015).    [Gtown Law]
  • James Oldham, Creditors and the Feme Covert, in Law and Legal Process: Substantive Law and Procedure in English Legal History 217-245 (Matthew Dyson & David Ibbetson eds., Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press 2013).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [BOOK]
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All Scholarship 2000 - Present

Forthcoming Works and Works in Progress

  • James Oldham, The Oxford History of the Laws of England: The Reign of George III (John H. Baker ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press forthcoming).   

Books

  • Case Notes of Sir Soulden Lawrence, 1787-1800 (James Oldham ed., London: Selden Society 2013).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Trial By Jury: The Seventh Amendment and Anglo-American Special Juries (New York: New York University Press 2006).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, The Varied Life of the Self-Informing Jury (London: Selden Society 2005).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, English Common Law in the Age of Mansfield (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press 2004), abridging and revising The Mansfield Manuscripts and the Growth of English Law in the 18th Century (1992).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • James Oldham, The Historically Shifting Sands of Reasons to Arbitrate, 2016 J. Disp. Resol. 41-54.    [HEIN] [W]
  • James Oldham & Su Jin Kim, Arbitration in America: The Early History, 31 Law & Hist. Rev. 241-266 (2013).    [HEIN] [W]
  • James Oldham, The DeLloyd Guth Visiting Lecture in Legal History: Habeas Corpus, Legal History, and Guantanamo Bay, 36 Man. L.J. 361-382 (2012).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • James Oldham & Su Jin Kim, Insuring Maritime Trade with the Enemy in the Napoleonic Era, 47 Tex. Int'l L.J. 561-586 (2012).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • James Oldham, Only Eleven Shillings: Abusing Public Justice in England in the Late Eighteenth Century (Part 1 of 2), 15 Green Bag 2d 175-188 (2012).    [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • James Oldham, Informal Lawmaking in England by the Twelve Judges in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries, 29 Law & Hist. Rev. 181-220 (2011).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • James Oldham, 28 Law & Hist. Rev. 856-859 (2010) (reviewing Wilfrid Prest, William Blackstone: Law and Letters in the Eighteenth Century (2008)).    [HEIN] [W]
  • James Oldham, On the Question of a Complexity Exception to the Seventh Amendment Guarantee of Trial by Jury, 71 Ohio St. L.J. 1031-1053 (2010).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • James Oldham, Insurance Litigation Involving the Zong and other British Slave Ships, 1780-1807, 28 J. Legal Hist. 299-318 (2007).   
  • James Oldham, Judicial Activism in Eighteenth-Century English Common Law in the Time of the Founders: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same, 8 Green Bag 2d 269-280 (2005).    [W]
  • James Oldham, A Profusion of Chancery Reform, 22 Law & Hist. Rev. 609-614 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • James Oldham, Law-Making at Nisi Prius in the Early 1800s , 25 J. Legal Hist. 221-247 (2004).   
  • James Oldham & Michael J. Wishnie, The Historical Scope of Habeas Corpus and INS v. St. Cyr, 16 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 485-503 (2002).    [HEIN] [W]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • James Oldham, Presidential Address: Historical Perspectives on the Judicial Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements, in Arbitration 2014: The Test Of Time: Proceedings of the Sixty-Seventh Annual Meeting, National Academy of Arbitrators, Chicago, Illinois, May 21-24, 2014 24-35 (Richard N. Block, Charles Feigenbaum, Rose Jacobs, Susan Grody Ruben, Mary Ellen Shea & Jan Stiglitz eds., Arlington, Va: Bloomberg BNA 2015).    [Gtown Law]
  • James Oldham, Creditors and the Feme Covert, in Law and Legal Process: Substantive Law and Procedure in English Legal History 217-245 (Matthew Dyson & David Ibbetson eds., Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press 2013).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, The Indispensability of Manuscript Case Notes to Eighteenth-century Barristers and Judges, in Making Legal History: Approaches and Methodologies 30-52 (Anthony Musson & Chantal Stebbings eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, The Surprising Strength of an Empty Duty—DFR Issues in Labor Arbitration, in Arbitration 2011: Varieties of the Arbitration Experience 64 186-208 (Mark I. Lurie & Nancy Kauffman eds., Arlington, Va: Bloomberg BNA 2012).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Lord Mansfield, Entry, in 4 The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History 141-144 (Stanley N. Katz et al. eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Foreword, in Reports of Cases in the Court of the Exchequer in the Time of King Charles I (1625-1648) 7-12 (W. Hamilton Bryson ed., Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein & Co. 2006).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Lord Mansfield, Stare Decisis, and the Ratio Decidendi 1756 to 1788, in Ratio Decidendi: Guiding Principles of Judicial Decision 137-150 (W. Hamilton Bryson & Serge Dauchy eds., Berlin, F.R.G.: Duncker & Humblot 2006).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Reminiscences: Introduction, in Arbitration 2004: New Issues and Innovations in Workplace Dispute Resolution 76 (Charles J. Coleman ed., Wash., D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs 2005).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Entries, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (H.C.G. Matthew & Brian Howard Harrison eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Jury Research in the English Reports in CD-ROM, in The Dearest Birth Right of the People of England: The Jury in the History of the Common Law 131-153 (John W. Cairns & Grant McLeod eds., Oxford: Hart 2002).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, The Seventh Amendment Right to Jury Trial: Late Eighteenth Century Practice Reconsidered, in Human Rights and Legal History: Essays in Honour of Brian Simpson 225-253 (A.W.B. Simpson, Katherine O’Donovan & Gerry R. Rubin eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000).    [BOOK]
  • James Oldham, Underreported and Underrated: The Court of Common Pleas in the Eighteenth Century, in Law As Culture & Culture As Law: Essays in Honor of John Philip Reid 119-146 (John Phillip Reid, Hendrik Hartog, William E. Nelson & Barbara Wilcie Kern eds., Madison, Wis.: Madison House 2000).    [BOOK]

U.S. Supreme Court Briefs

  • Brief for Amicus Curiae the National Academy of Arbitrators in Support of the Petitioner, United Here Local 355 v. Mulhall, No. 12-99 (U.S. Aug. 20, 2013).    [W]
  • Brief Amicus Curiae of the National Academy of Arbitrators in Support of Respondents, 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, No. 07-581 (U.S. June 27, 2008).    [Gtown Law]
  • Brief of Legal Historians as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners, Boumediene v. Bush, Nos. 06-1195, 06-1196 (U.S. Aug. 24, 2007).    [Gtown Law]
  • Brief Amici Curiae of Legal Historians Listed Herein in Support of the Petitioners, Rasul v. Bush, Nos. 03-224, 03-343 (U.S. Jan. 14, 2004).    [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Brief Amici Curiae of Legal Historians Listed Herein in Support of Repondent, I.N.S. v. St. Cyr, No. 00-767 (U.S. Mar. 27, 2001).    [W] [Gtown Law]
Recent scholarship

In the News

"U.S. judge upholds NHL defenseman's shortened ban, in defeat for Bettman," coverage by WHTC 99.7FM (Holland, MI), March 15, 2017, mentioning Professor James Oldham.

"NHLPA Says Abitrator's Decision Was Within Rules," coverage by Law 360, September 19, 2016, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"NHL Says Arbitrator Overstepped In Cutting Wideman's Ban," coverage in Law 360, August 29, 2016, quoting Professor James Oldham.

"NHL Dismisses Arbitrator Who Cut Wideman Suspension," coverage in Law 360, July 20, 2016, quoting Professor James Oldham.

"Willes' Musings: Desjardins' job may look like it's on the line, but don't be too sure," coverage in The Province, February 22, 2016, featuring Professor James Oldham.

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All News

"U.S. judge upholds NHL defenseman's shortened ban, in defeat for Bettman," coverage by WHTC 99.7FM (Holland, MI), March 15, 2017, mentioning Professor James Oldham.

"NHLPA Says Abitrator's Decision Was Within Rules," coverage by Law 360, September 19, 2016, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"NHL Says Arbitrator Overstepped In Cutting Wideman's Ban," coverage in Law 360, August 29, 2016, quoting Professor James Oldham.

"NHL Dismisses Arbitrator Who Cut Wideman Suspension," coverage in Law 360, July 20, 2016, quoting Professor James Oldham.

"Willes' Musings: Desjardins' job may look like it's on the line, but don't be too sure," coverage in The Province, February 22, 2016, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"Jimmy Graham reportedly appealing arbitrator’s decision in grievance," coverage in the New Orleans Advocate, July 15, 2014, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"Report: Saints, Jimmy Graham start negotiations at ‘ground zero'," coverage in The Advocate, July 4, 2014, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"Player Development Is Where Penguins Remain Healthy," coverage in the The New York Times, December 21, 2013, featuring Professor James Oldham.

"Bruins' Thornton Appeals 15-Game Suspension for On-Ice Attack," The New York Times, December 16, 2013, featuring Professor James Oldham.

Coverage of St. Thomas More Professor of Legal History James C. Oldham's September 13, 2013 ruling as an arbitrator in the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. case drew on coverage including Bloomberg Business Week, The Examiner Online, and Financial Times

"English Gavels Resound in a Trove Headed to Yale," coverage in the Washington Post, June 16, 2013, featuring James Oldham, St. Thomas More Professor of Law and Legal History.

SI.com reported that a three-member appeals panel, comprised of Professor James Oldham and two retired federal judges, overturned the player suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, September 7, 2012.

"New Orleans Saints Linebacker Jonathan Vilma Receives No Ruling from Federal Judge," coverage in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 10, 2012, featuring Professor James Oldham.

Recent News