Owen M. Fiss

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law


Owen Fiss is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law of Yale University. He teaches procedure, legal theory, and constitutional law and is the author of many articles and books on these subjects.

FULL BIOGRAPHY
Owen Fiss

Contact Information



Faculty Assistant


Suzanne Al-Labban

Education & Curriculum Vitae


LL.B., Harvard, 1964

B. Phil., Oxford, 1961

B.A., Dartmouth, 1959

Courses Taught


  • Distributive Justice and the Constitution
  • The Law of Democracy
  • Procedure
  • The War Against Terrorism and the Rule of Law

Owen Fiss is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law of Yale University. He was educated at Dartmouth, Oxford, and Harvard. He clerked for Thurgood Marshall (when Marshall was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) and later for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He also served in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice from 1966 to 1968. Before coming to Yale, Professor Fiss taught at the University of Chicago. At Yale he teaches procedure, legal theory, and constitutional law.

Professor Fiss is the author of many articles and books, including The Civil Rights Injunction, Troubled Beginnings of the Modern StateLiberalism DividedThe Irony of Free SpeechA Community of Equals, A Way Out: America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of RacismAdjudication and its Alternatives (with Judith Resnik), The Law as it Could Be, and The Dictates of Justice: Essays on Law and Human Rights. His most recent books are A War Like No Other: The Constitution in a Time of Terror and Pillars of Justice: Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition.

Professor Fiss also participates in extensive Law School programs in Latin America and the Middle East and, along with Anthony Kronman, directs the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization. Professor Fiss is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Universidad de Palermo (Buenos Aires). He was also awarded La distinción Sócrates from Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá).

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Seminar Returns to Argentina with Gender and Equality Focus

Legal scholars from Yale Law School and 14 countries convened in Buenos Aires in June for the 24th annual Seminario en Latinoamérica de Teoría Constitutional y Política, or SELA, this year addressing the topic of gender and equality.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


La agenda de la democracia liberal

The work of Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss is discussed in a commentary in the newspaper Clarín (Argentina).

Friday, June 28, 2019


La debilidad de los medios de comunicación puede representar una amenaza para la democracia

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen M. Fiss is interviewed about freedom of expression as it relates to current events. (Spanish language)

Monday, June 24, 2019


Professor Fiss Meets with Argentine President, Recalling 1985 Visit

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen M. Fiss recently met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the presidential residence in Buenos Aires, a visit that commemorated Fiss's first trip to Argentina in 1985.

Monday, March 18, 2019


Linkaging between Latin America and YLS

Students from Yale Law School and from partner schools in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil recently visited each others' countries through Latin American Linkages, a long-running annual exchange program.

Monday, February 11, 2019


California Law Review Symposium Includes Essay by Professor Fiss

The California Law Review published a symposium in its December 2018 issue including an essay by Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Remarks by Professor Fiss at the University of Buenos Aires

On December 11, 2018, the law faculty of the Universidad de Buenos Aires inaugurated a new academic program and read remarks by Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Brief Lives

A review of Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss’s latest book, “Pillars of Justice: Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Inspiring Profiles: From an Age of Optimism

A review of Pillars of Justice: Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition by Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Owen Fiss and the Liberal Legal Tradition

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss’s book Pillars of Justice is reviewed.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Owen Fiss, Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss discussed his new book, Pillars of Justice: Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Fiss Publishes Book on Influential Lawyers and the Liberal Tradition

In his latest book Sterling Professor Emeritus Owen Fiss explores the purpose and possibilities of life in the law through moving accounts of thirteen lawyers who shaped the legal world during the past half century.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Judge in 9/11 Suits Feels No Regret That None Ever Went to Trial

Sterling Professor Emeritus Owen Fiss is quoted in an article about the federal lawsuits filed by the families of some of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Lecture Series on Latin American Law Debuts

A new lecture series titled "The State of the Rule of Law in Latin America: Contemporary Challenges and Crises," will debut at Yale Law School on February 1 at 12:10 p.m.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Kamel Center Lectures Set for Spring 2016

The Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School will host a series of lectures featuring academics from around the country during the Spring 2016 semester.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Owen Fiss Authors Book on Constitutional Law After 9/11

Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School, surveys the major legal controversies surrounding U.S. counterterrorism policies post-9/11.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


SELA Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Peru

Scholars and lawyers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and the United States met in Peru to celebrate the 20th anniversary of SELA - The Seminar in Latin America on Constitutional and Political Theory (SELA).

Friday, January 31, 2014


2014 Middle East Legal Studies Seminar Focused on “Transformations”

Yale Law School’s Middle East Legal Studies Seminar celebrated the 17th year since its founding with a meeting this January in New Haven. As in past years, the seminar brought together scholars, students, jurists, and practicing lawyers for high-level discussions of legal issues relevant to the Middle East. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Symposium Participants Revisit Owen Fiss’ Groundbreaking Paper, Against Settlement

In April 2009, the Fordham Law Review held a symposium at Fordham Law School to consider the arguments Owen Fiss made 25 years ago in his paper, Against Settlement.

Monday, October 12, 2009


SELA Participants Gather in Paraguay to Examine Law and Sexuality

Nearly 100 lawyers and legal scholars from North and South America gathered in Asunción, Paraguay, this past June for the 2009 SELA meeting.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Owen Fiss Honored for Achievement in Teaching and Scholarship

Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School