Edward Morrison to Join Faculty

The University of Chicago Law School is thrilled to welcome back alumnus Edward R. Morrison, a leading scholar in law and economics who joins the faculty from Columbia Law School. 

Morrison is Columbia’s Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and the co-director of the Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy. He is credited with developing ideas that changed how the legal and business communities view bankruptcy, and he is highly regarded by practicing lawyers and judges as well as in the academic world.

Morrison is also a three-time graduate from the University in Chicago, having earned a Master’s and PhD in economics (in 1997 and 2003) and his JD from the Law School in 2000. 

“I am overjoyed that Ed Morrison, his wife Anne, and their three kids will be coming home to Chicago,” Dean Michael Schill said.   “Ed is the perfect addition to our faculty; his values and commitment to the academic enterprise are our values.  With Ed, Douglas Baird, Randy Picker, and Tony Casey on our faculty we easily have the strongest commercial law faculty in the nation.”  

Morrison said he’s happy to be back, and he's armed with ideas. 

“I am particularly enthusiastic about helping the school build a new center focused on the intersection of law, business, and regulation,” he said. “I want to support deeper connections with the University’s outstanding business school and with the city’s leading business and legal professionals. 

“There are many potential synergies here, and I hope to play a role in finding and leveraging them.”  

Morrison is a first-rate empirical economist whose legal skills are second-to-none, which strengthens the Law’s School’s already rich interdisciplinary tradition, said Douglas G. Baird, Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law. 

Oftentimes, the impression of law professors is that they have no real connection with the day-to-day practice of law, but Morrison remains “completely wired with the bankruptcy bench and bar,” Baird added. And his empirical papers are standard readings in business and economics courses. 

Randal C. Picker is part of the National Bankruptcy Conference, a small group of practicing lawyers, judges, and academics, along with Morrison and Baird. 

It’s clear that Morrison is “well-regarded as among the elite of the bankruptcy world,” said Picker, the Paul H. and Theo Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law.

Morrison is also described by his new Chicago colleagues as a talented teacher who was beloved by students during his 2008 stint as a visiting professor.

In fact, the Law School tried unsuccessfully to hire him then, but “the second time proved to be a charm,” said Lior Strahilevitz, Deputy Dean. 

“His intellectual honesty, his mental quickness, his curiosity about every subject, and his willingness to chase down ideas wherever they might lead him – all these traits describe both Ed and the University of Chicago Law School.” 

Immediately following his graduation with High Honors from the Law School, Morrison worked as a law clerk for Judge Richard A. Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Morrison’s most well-known work includes a measurement he developed to determine how adept bankruptcy judges were at predicting which firms were likely to survive, Baird said. The common thought at the time was that judges tended to be fairly bad at that, but Morrison proved otherwise, just as he had predicted. 

Beyond academics, Morrison said he’s simply happy to rejoin the Hyde Park community, where he met his wife in Gary Becker’s Price Theory course.

“We are thrilled to return,” Morrison said. “Hyde Park offers a great fit for my three children: a calm environment and welcoming community with first-rate educational opportunities and quick access to Sox games.”