Legal history and constitutional law scholar Laura Weinrib ’03 will join HLS faculty

Laura Weinrib

Photo courtesy of Laura Weinrib

Laura Weinrib ’03, a leading scholar of legal history and constitutional law, will join the Harvard Law School faculty as professor of law, effective July 1, 2019. She returns to her alma mater from The University of Chicago Law School, where she is Professor of Law and Associate Member of the Department of History. In the fall of 2018, she served as the Sullivan & Cromwell Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

“We are delighted to welcome Laura Weinrib back to Harvard Law School, where her scholarship and teaching on American legal history and constitutional law will place her firmly within a distinguished HLS tradition of great legal historians and constitutional scholars,” Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85 said. “Laura’s groundbreaking and award-winning research on the evolution of concept of free expression has done nothing short of change the way we think about that important subject.”

“I am delighted to be returning to Harvard as a member of the law school faculty,” Weinrib said. “I look forward to working with the extraordinary students and scholars who make HLS such a vibrant intellectual community.”

Weinrib’s prize-winning scholarship explores a wide range of subjects in American legal history, as well as constitutional law and labor law. She is the author of “The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise” (Harvard University Press, 2016), which traces the emergence during the first half of the twentieth century of a constitutional and court-centered concept of civil liberties as a defining feature of American democracy. The book was acclaimed in the Wall Street Journal as “utterly brilliant” and “an extraordinary reminder of why history matters to the present.”

Weinrib has also written numerous articles, essays, and book chapters. Her most recent publications include: “Against Intolerance: The Red Scare Roots Of Legal Liberalism,” in the Journal of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era (2019); “The Myth of the Modern First Amendment,” in The Free Speech Century (Lee C. Bollinger & Geoffrey R. Stone, eds., 2019); “Labor History and the Clash of Capabilities,” in The Capabilities Approach and Labor Law (Brian Langille, ed., 2019); “The Second New Deal and the Fourth Courtroom Wall: Law, Labor, and Liberty in The Cradle Will Rock,” in Power, Prose, and Purse (Alison LaCroix, Saul Levmore, and Martha Nussbaum, eds., 2019); “The Vagrancy Law Challenge and the Vagaries of Legal Change,” in Law and Social Inquiry (2018); “Class and Classification: The Role of Disgust in Regulating Social Status,” in The Empire of Disgust (Zoya Hasan, Aziz Huq, Martha Nussbaum, and Vidhu Verma, eds.); and “The Right to Work and the Right to Strike,” in the University of Chicago Legal Forum (2018). She is a co-editor of Cannons and Codes: Law, Literature, and America’s Wars (with Alison LaCroix, Jonathan Masur and Martha Nussbaum), which is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Weinrib graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2003. She earned her PhD in history at Princeton University in 2011. In 2000, she received an AB magna cum laude with highest honors in Literature and an AM in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. After law school, Weinrib clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 2009 to 2010, she was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the New York University School of Law.