Jennifer Nou and William Baude are Newest Faculty Members

Jennifer Nou and William Baude are rising stars in the world of legal scholarship, as evidenced by just snippets of their already-impressive resumes. Nou, who has degrees from Yale and Oxford universities, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and worked in the Obama administration before coming to the Law School last year as Public Law Fellow. Baude, who earned his undergraduate degree at the University and his JD at Yale, clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts before spending two years in private practice and then moving onto Stanford Law as a Fellow in its Constitutional Law Center.

Now, each scholar can add this line to their curriculm vitae: University of Chicago Law School faculty member. Nou begins July 1, and Baude begins in January.

Professor Richard McAdams, head of the committee that selected Nou and Baude, said he was thrilled to call them colleagues.

“They are both brilliant, creative, and energetic. They had extremely interesting practice experiences and we believe they will be wonderful teachers,” he said. “For new scholars, they have already achieved an amazing level of success and we predict that they will become two of the leading legal academics of their generation.”

McAdams’ fellow professors are thrilled too, as evidenced by several enthuasiastic posts on Twitter; Professor Randy Picker called it “a banner entry-level hiring year.” Professor Lior Strahilevitz tweeted, “Hiring rock star profs Jennifer Nou & Will Baude in same year is extraordinary.”

Their excitement is understandable, Dean Michael Schill said. “Jennifer and Will are exactly the kind of scholars we want to bring into our university – they’re incredibly talented, driven, and already very accomplished at their young ages. They’re going to be on the cutting-edge of legal scholarship for many years to come, and they’re top-notch teachers, too.”

For their part, Nou and Baude say they’re ecstatic about their new jobs.

“I’m just thrilled to be joining the faculty,” Nou said. During her 18 months here, she’s been especially impressed by a “culture of horizontal engagement,” where senior and junior professors interact seamlessly. “People are excited to talk to you about your ideas  and to offer new perspectives on them.”

Baude has heard about that culture already, he said. “The Law School has the best intellectual culture of any law school in the country. It’s probably the most engaging and dynamic place for young people who are interested in ideas.”

Nou and Baude bring distinct areas of expertise. Nou’s research and teaching focuses on administrative law, with additional interests in legislation and election law. As Public Law Fellow, she did research, wrote, and taught two classes, administrative law and legislation. Her most recent work, “Agency Self-Insulation Under Presidential Review,” published this month in the Harvard Law Review, explores how agencies may act strategically to insulate their policy decisions from presidential review and reversal.

Before coming to the Law School, Nou worked as Special Assistant to the Administrator and Policy Analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the executive branch office responsible for coordinating the review of federal regulations, among other functions. The Administrator at the time was Cass Sunstein, longtime Chicago Law faculty member.

Before starting at OIRA, Nou clerked for Judge Richard Posner in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and Supreme Court Justice Breyer. Both of them encouraged her and their other clerks to challenge them when appropriate and to look at how the law applies in “real life,” she said, lessons she’s kept with her.  

Nou earned her JD from Yale Law in 2008, where she was Projects Editor for the Yale Law Journal. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Politics from Oxford University, where she graduated, with distinction, in 2004. She earned her undergraduate degree from Yale in 2002, studying economics and political science.

Baude’s focus is on constitutional law, federal courts, and conflicts of law. He is in the final months of a two-year fellowship at the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, where he teaches Advanced Topics in Federalism, which covers issues of constitutional law, federal courts, and civil procedure.

He worked for nearly two years as an associate in the Washington, D.C., firm of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, where he practiced “a mix of everything” in both trial and appellate litigation. He also spent a summer as a fellow in the University of San Diego Law School’s Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism.

Like Nou, Baude has held some incredible clerkships. First, he clerked in Salt Lake City for Judge Michael McConnell, an alumnus and former faculty member, on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Then, Baude worked for Chief Justice Roberts from July of 2008 to July of 2009. The experience taught him how to boil complicated cases down to the issues that really matter, which is invaluable in teaching and writing, he said.  

Baude earned his JD from Yale in 2007, and was Articles and Essays Editor for the Yale Law Journal (starting a year before Nou worked at the journal). His undergraduate degree is from the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors with a degree in mathematics, specializing in economics. While an undergrad, he was a research assistant for Judge Posner, completing statistical analyses for economics projects and a wide range of other tasks.

His most significant work to date is a pair of papers, one published last year in the Stanford Law Review and one this year in the Yale Law Journal. The Stanford paper, “Beyond DOMA: Choice of State Law in Federal Statutes,” is getting increasing attention because of the Supreme Court’s consideration of the constitutionalism of the Defense of Marriage Act. The paper explores the procedural consequences if DOMA is struck down. The Yale Law Journal paper, “Rethinking the Federal Eminent Domain Power,” takes a modern look at the Necessary and Proper Clause.

“Will and Jennifer are going to fit right in with our talented, inquisitive, idea-driven faculty,” McAdams said. “We’re lucky to have landed them, considering how stiff the competition was from other top law schools. I’m confident this will be a perfect intellectual home for them both.”