Property Expert Eduardo Peñalver Joins Law School Faculty

The University of Chicago Law School is pleased to announce that Eduardo Peñalver, Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, will join the faculty in early 2013.

“Eduardo will be a spectacular addition to our faculty,” said Michael H. Schill, Dean of the Law School. “I have long admired his work and have so much enjoyed getting to know him while he was a visitor here last year. Eduardo’s brilliant property scholarship and wonderful teaching were such great assets to our community during his visit, and I am thrilled that we will get to add him to our community so soon. We have an amazing property faculty—surely now the best in the nation. Peñalver, Fennell, Strahilevitz, Helmholz; it really is incredible.”

Professor Peñalver will join the faculty as Professor of Law. He is a nationally renowned expert in the law of property and land use, and has an additional research interest in law and religion. He has been on the faculty of Cornell Law School since 2006 and was a Visiting Professor of Law at the Law School in Fall quarter 2012. Prior to joining the academy, Professor Peñalver clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and at the Supreme Court for Justice John Paul Stevens. His most recent books include Property Outlaws (Yale 2010) (with Sonia Katyal, ‘98), which explores the role of disobedience in the evolution of property law, and An Introduction to Property Theory (Cambridge 2012) (with Greg Alexander), a survey of the theories of property that have been most influential in American legal discussions. Professor Peñalver received his B.A. from Cornell University and his law degree from Yale Law School.

“I am very excited to be joining such a phenomenal community of scholars and students,” Peñalver said. “I had a terrific time during my visit last fall and was delighted to be invited back.”

The Law School faculty is equally delighted. “Peñalver brings broad and cross-cutting interests to property,” said Randal Picker, Paul H. and Theo Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law. “He will fit nicely with our existing faculty strength in property but will add to that meaningfully in bringing a philosophically-grounded framework to bear on property questions. His work is influential, both here and abroad. Indeed, just this morning in one of our sessions in the 2012 Summer School in Law and Economics, Peñalver’s work was cited as being foundational for understanding informal real property arrangements in China. Plus, Eduardo was enthusiastically embraced by his property students who are eager to have him back on a permanent basis.”

Lior Strahilevitz, Sidley Austin Professor of Law and a well-known property expert himself, is equally impressed with Peñalver’s scholarhip. “Eduardo would be on anyone’s list of the most important and imaginative Property scholars of our era. He has an amazing knowledge base, a great grasp of both doctrine and theory, and a genuine passion for the material. A few years ago we learned that we were unwittingly working on the same topic—abandoned property—at the same time. After we exchanged drafts I read his punch line and thought, ‘Darn it, I wish I had thought of that!’ The next year we wrote a paper together on judicial takings, and the collaboration was great fun.”

Strahilevitz’s colleagues are equally pleased to have Peñalver join the faculty. “Peñalver brings a humanistic philosophical approach to the understanding of property; he is a pioneer of interdisciplinary scholarship that uses virtue ethics to think about the issues, and his subtle work will enrich our conversations,” said Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics.

“Eduardo is one of the very best property scholars of his generation,” said Lee Fennell, Max Pam Professor of Law. “His work is creative, far-ranging, and provocative. His joining our faculty wonderfully complements our existing strengths, and the resulting synergies are sure to generate a lot of exciting new thinking about property.”

Peñalver’s presence on the faculty will enrich the Law School’s teaching as much as its scholarship. “Eduardo and I shared a Property class last year,” Strahilevitz said, “and after sitting in on one of his fall classes and reading his teaching evaluations, I knew I would be filling very large shoes in the winter. Eduardo had been a provocative, eloquent, funny, and innovative instructor, and throughout the winter quarter I was impressed with how much my students had learned – and remembered – from the fall quarter.”

Professor Peñalver will join the faculty in January 2013. He joins two other newcomers to the Law School faculty, Professor Edward Morrison and Assistant Professor Nicholas Stephanopolous, as well as Sital Kalantry, who will join in January 2013 as a Clinical Professor of Law. “This has been an exceptional hiring year for the Law School,” Schill said. “Our Appointments Committee for the upcoming year has a high bar to reach!”