Nicholas R. Parrillo
William K. Townsend Professor of Law and Professor of History
(on leave, fall 2022)
Nicholas R. Parrillo is William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale, with a secondary appointment as Professor of History. His research and teaching focus on administrative law and government bureaucracy and extend to legal history, remedies, and legislation.FULL BIOGRAPHY
- Room L34
Education & Curriculum Vitae
Ph.D. (American Studies), Yale University, 2012
J.D., Yale Law School, 2004
A.B., Harvard University, 2000
- Administrative Law
- Advanced Administrative Law
- American Legal History
Nicholas R. Parrillo is William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale, with a secondary appointment as Professor of History. His research and teaching focus on administrative law and government bureaucracy and extend to legal history, remedies, and legislation. He is a recipient of the ABA’s award for the year’s best scholarship in administrative law and the Law and Society Association’s Hurst prize for the year’s best book in legal history. Parrillo’s articles since 2018 include a study in the Yale Law Journal finding new originalist evidence against a narrow constitutional understanding of administrative regulatory power; a study in the Harvard Law Review giving the first general assessment of how the judiciary handles the federal government's disobedience to court orders; and a study that provided the empirical basis for the U.S. Administrative Conference’s best practices on the federal government’s ubiquitous but controversial use of guidance documents and was the focal point for an online symposium on that controversy. Peer scholars at Jotwell, in selecting the “best new scholarship relevant to the law,” selected each of these three studies (one of them twice). Parrillo has testified before Congress, serves as a senior fellow of the U.S. Administrative Conference, and has been an invited speaker before the Second Circuit Judicial Conference, the law-and-science committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Justice’s summit on administrative procedure, and the Federalist Society’s national lawyers’ convention (showcase panel). He is a recipient of Yale Law School’s annual teaching award.
Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04 delivers the inaugural William K. Townsend lecture on Nov. 8, 2021.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Professor Parrillo Argues for the Constitutionality of Agency Rulemaking
Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04 gave his first lecture as the William K. Townsend Professor of Law on whether administrative regulatory power is constitutional.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Administrative Law Roundtable Gathers Early-Career Scholars
In September, 14 early-career legal scholars and 13 senior commenters gathered for the annual Administrative Law New Scholarship Roundtable, this year hosted by the Law School.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
An Early History of Rulemaking Power
The Regulatory Review
A paper by William K. Townsend Professor of Law Professor of Law Nicholas R. Parrillo on an early exercise of federal administrative power is summarized.
Monday, October 28, 2019
Interpretive Rules in Practice
The Regulatory Review
Scholarship by Professor of Law Nicholas R. Parrillo is mentioned in a Regulatory Review article about the Administrative Conference of the United States’ recommendation on interpretive rules.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
New Trump Orders: Guidance Should Be A Shield, Not A Sword
Professor of Law Nicholas R. Nicholas Parrillo’s work is discused in Forbes.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
What Do Trump's Orders Mean For Agency Guidance?
Professor of Law Nicholas R. Nicholas Parrillo’s work is discused in Law360.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Professor Parrillo Testifies Before Congress on Regulatory Process
Professor Nicholas Parrillo ’04 testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 14, 2018.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Yale Law School Hosted Conference on work of Sterling Professor Jerry Mashaw
Yale Law School hosted “Administrative Law From the Inside Out: A Conference on Themes in the Work of Jerry Mashaw” on October 2 and 3, 2015.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Parrillo ’04 Book Wins Award from American Bar Association
Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04 has received the Annual Scholarship Award from the ABA Section on Administrative Law for his book Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780–1940.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Against the Profit Motive, Book by Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04, Wins Hurst Award
The Law and Society Association has given the J. Willard Hurst Award, for the year’s best work in English on socio-legal history, to Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo’ 04 for his book Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780–1940 (Yale University Press, 2013).
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Yale Health Law and Policy Society Conference to Take Place on February 8th
The first ever Yale Health Law and Policy Society Conference will take place on February 8, 2014 at Yale Law School. The conference will examine the implementation of the new Health Insurance Exchange Law.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Against the Profit Motive – A Book by Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04
In new book, Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780–1940, Professor Nicholas R. Parrillo ’04 shows how American law once authorized government officers to make money from their jobs on a profit-seeking basis in a way that would surprise many observers today.
“A Critical Assessment of the Originalist Case Against Administrative Regulatory Power: New Evidence from the Federal Tax on Private Real Estate in the 1790s,” Yale Law Journal 130 (2021): 1288-1455.
- Selected for review in Jotwell (Administrative Law)
“Towards an Administrative Law of Central Banking,” Yale Journal on Regulation 38 (2021): 1-89 (with Peter Conti-Brown and Yair Listokin).
“Federal Agency Guidance and the Power to Bind: An Empirical Study of Agencies and Industries,” Yale Journal on Regulation 36 (2019): 165-271.
- Selected for two reviews in Jotwell (Administrative Law)
- Served as the focal point for an online symposium about guidance
“Fiduciary Government and Public Officers’ Incentives,” in Fiduciary Government, ed. Evan J. Criddle et al. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 146-160.
“The Endgame of Administrative Law: Governmental Disobedience and the Judicial Contempt Power,” Harvard Law Review 131 (2018): 685-794.
“Federal Agency Guidance: An Institutional Perspective,” Final Report to the Administrative Conference of the United States (Oct. 12, 2017).
- Based on author’s interviews with 135 individuals across agencies, industry, and NGOs
- Served as the basis for the Conference’s best practices for agency use of guidance, published in 82 Fed. Reg. 61734-38 (Dec. 29, 2017); these were partly extended to cover interpretive rules in best practices on that subject, 84 Fed. Reg. 38,927 (Aug. 8, 2019)
“Jerry Mashaw’s Creative Tension with the Field of Administrative Law” in Administrative Law from the Inside Out: Essays on Themes in the Work of Jerry Mashaw, ed. Nicholas R. Parrillo (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).
- Received Annual Scholarship Award (American Bar Association Section on Administrative Law) for the year’s best book or article on administrative law
- Received Hurst Prize (Law and Society Association) for the year’s best book on legal history
- Visit the Book Webpage and read the Introductory Chapter
- Watch a Talk About the Book
- Extended Reviews in The Boston Review and the Harvard Law Review
- Featured in Symposium on Balkinization and in interview on New Books in Law (podcast)
- Featured in “On the Take,” an episode of the radio program Back Story with the American History Guys (30:00 mark)
“Leviathan and Interpretive Revolution: The Administrative State, the Judiciary, and the Rise of Legislative History, 1890-1950,” Yale Law Journal 123 (2013): 266-411.
- Received Cromwell Article Prize (American Society for Legal History) for the year’s best article on American legal history by an early-career scholar.
“Testing Weber: Compensation for Public Services, Bureaucratization, and the Development of Positive Law in the United States,” in Comparative Administrative Law, ed. Susan Rose- Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010).
“The De-Privatization of American Warfare: How the U.S. Government Used, Regulated, and Ultimately Abandoned Privateering in the Nineteenth Century,” Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities 19 (2007): 1-96.
“‘The Government at the Mercy of Its Contractors’: How the New Deal Lawyers Reshaped the Common Law to Challenge the Defense Industry in World War II,” Hastings Law Journal 57 (2005): 93-197.
“Lincoln’s Calvinist Transformation: Emancipation and War,” Civil War History 46 (2000): 227- 253. Republished in On Lincoln, ed. John T. Hubbell (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2014), volume 3 of Civil War History Readers (“a multivolume series reintroducing the most influential articles published in the journal”).
Administrative Law: The American Public Law System: Cases and Materials, 8th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 2019) (with Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, M. Elizabeth Magill, Jerry L. Mashaw, Richard A. Merrill, and Peter M. Shane).
Administrative Law from the Inside Out: Essays on Themes in the Work of Jerry Mashaw, ed. Nicholas R. Parrillo (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Written Testimony Before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, “Shining Light on the Federal Regulatory Process,” March 14, 2018 (Video of hearing: Parrillo opening statement at 36:45.)
Margaret Kwoka’s Saving the Freedom of Information Act as a Model for the Empirical Study of Administrative Law, Notice & Comment Blog, Feb. 1, 2022
A Brief Response to Philip Hamburger on Nondelegation, Original Meaning, and the Direct Tax of 1798, Notice & Comment Blog, Jan. 20, 2022
Review of Federal Ground, by Gregory Ablavsky, American Journal of Legal History 61 (2021).
“Towards an Administrative Law of Central Banking,” Oxford Business Law Blog, May 17, 2021 (with Peter Conti-Brown and Yair Listokin)
“Judge Stephen F. Williams, 1936-2020” Notice & Comment Blog, August 9, 2020 (with Peter Conti-Brown, Kristina Daugirdas, Daniel E. Ho, and Anne Joseph O’Connell)
Review of Inventing American Exceptionalism, by Amalia D. Kessler, Law and History Review 36 (2018): 1101-03.
“Understanding and Addressing Controversies About Agency Guidance,” Regulatory Review, March 5, 2018 (with Lee Liberman Otis)
“Challenges Agencies Face in Communicating by Guidance,” Notice & Comment Blog, Jan. 31, 2018
“68th Plenary Preview: Agency Guidance,” Administrative Fix Blog (Administrative Conference of the United States), December 7, 2017
“The Fate of the Clean Power Plan Case: Hold in Abeyance, or Remand?” Notice & Comment Blog, May 5, 2017
“Bureaucratic Power and the Rule of Law,” review of Tocqueville’s Nightmare, by Daniel Ernst, Reviews in American History 43 (Sept. 2015): 544-49.
“Administrative Constitutionalism and Administrative Power,” RegBlog, Symposium on Sophia Lee’s The Workplace Constitution, April 1, 2015
“Remarks Accepting the Section’s 2014 Annual Scholarship Award for Against the Profit Motive,” Administrative & Regulatory Law News, 40, no. 2 (Winter 2015): 7-9.
Review of Making the Modern American Fiscal State, by Ajay Mehrotra, Journal of American History 101 (March 2015): 1225-26.
“The Salary Revolution and the Marks of Government’s Distinctness: A Response to Jon Michaels,” Harvard Law Review Forum 128, no. 99 (Feb. 10, 2015)
“The Banishment of the Profit Motive from American Government—and Its Return?” Balkinization, June 12, 2014.
“American Fiscal State-Building, Crisis, and Contingency,” PrawfsBlawg, Symposium on Ajay Mehrotra’s Making the Modern American Fiscal State, June 10, 2014.
“What Is the Future of Scholarly Books in the Digital Age?” Legal History Blog, Nov. 26, 2013.
“Researching State Legislative Records: The Biggest Obstacle in American Legal History,” Legal History Blog, Nov. 13, 2013.
“Impartial Decisionmaker,” in Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties, ed. Paul Finkelman (New York: Routledge, 2006), 2: 798-801.