Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda is the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, at Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Before that, he was University Professor and Professor of Law at George Mason University and the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, the University of Illinois.  He is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was a member of Harvard Law Review. Before that, he clerked for Judge Walter R. Mansfield 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals).  He practiced law in Washington, D.C., and was assistant majority counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee.
He has co-authored the most widely used course book on legal ethics, Problems and Materials on Professional Responsibility (Foundation Press, 12th ed. 2014); author of a leading course book on constitutional law, Modern Constitutional Law (West Academic Co., 11th ed. 2015);  coauthor (with John Dzienkowski) of, Legal Ethics: The Lawyer’s Deskbook on Professional Responsibility (ABA-Thompson Reuters Publishing, 2016-2017 Ed.);  co-author (with John Nowak) of the six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West/Thompson Reuters Publishing, 5th ed. 2012)( annually updated), and the one volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West Academic, 8th ed. 2010).  He published several other books and more than 500 articles in law reviews, journals, newspapers in this country and abroad. His works have been translated into French, Portuguese German, Romanian, Czech, Russian, Japanese, and Korean.  State and federal courts at every level, foreign courts in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, and law reviews have cited his publications more than 2000 times.  
In 1993, he was the Constitutional Law Adviser to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, and assisted that country in writing its first democratic constitution. He consulted with new democracies in Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine on their proposed constitutions and judicial codes. He chaired the subcommittee that drafted the American Bar Association’s Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement; was a member of the Publications Board of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (1994 to 2016); and was member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline (1991-1997). He was Fulbright Professor in Venezuela (1986) and Fulbright Research Scholar in Italy (1981). In 1996, he assisted the Czech Republic in drafting the first Rules of Ethics for lawyers.  He was a Visiting Scholar, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Law, Leuven, Belgium, and a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Law and Economics, Institut für Recht und Ökonomik, the University of Hamburg.  From early June 2004 to May 2005, he was the Special Counsel to the Department of Defense.
In May 2000, American Law Media, publisher of The American Lawyer, the National Law Journal, and the Legal Times picked Rotunda as one of the ten most influential Illinois Lawyers.   Also in 2000, a University of Chicago Press study to determine the influence, productivity, and reputations of law professors over the last several decades, ranked Rotunda as the 17th highest in the nation.  The 2002-2003 New Educational Quality Ranking of U.S. Law Schools (EQR) [the last year for which such records are available] ranks Professor Rotunda as the eleventh most cited of all law faculty in the United States. See was selected the Best Lawyer in Washington, DC, in 2009 in Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, as published in November 2008 in the Washington Post in association with the Legal Times.  When he moved to California, he was similarly selected every year, since 2009.  From 2009 to 2013, he was a Commissioner of the Fair Political Practices Commission, a state regulatory agency (analogous to the Federal Election Commission).  He was a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Legal Education (2014 to 2016). See also,

Columns by Ronald D. Rotunda

The Mystery of Case Assignment in the Ninth Circuit


Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the purportedly random assignment of judges to cases in federal courts. Rotunda points out that particularly in the Ninth Circuit, which has been singled out as having highly unlikely results of “random” assignment, the process of case assignment is unnecessarily opaque; Rotunda argues for greater transparency to ensure fairness and justice.

Suing the President


Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses on the lawsuit against President Obama and explains the issue of judicial standing to sue the President for exceeding his constitutional authority. Rotunda points to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor, the case in which the Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, as supporting standing for the new case against the President.

Using Facebook as a Discovery Device


Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses how various courts and bar associations treat attorneys’ uses of Facebook and other social networking sites. Rotunda describes some different rules that affect how lawyers may and may not use social networking sites to interact with witnesses, opposing parties, jurors, and clients.

Banning the Export of American Oil


Ronald Rotunda, a Chapman University law professor, discusses why Congress should eliminate the federal ban on the export of American oil. Rotunda provides a background on the history of the Export Clause of the U.S. Constitution and explains why the original rationale for banning the export of oil no longer supports the continued ban today.

Increasing Revenue by Lowering Taxes


Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda argues that the best way to increase revenue is to lower taxes. Rotunda explains that the current taxation structure incentivizes the wealthy to find loopholes and avoid paying taxes altogether, whereas those same corporations and individuals would be more likely to pay under lower tax rates. Rotunda also discusses the trend of corporations moving their headquarters and business centers from states with higher taxes, such as California, to states with lower taxes, and the negative impact of such moves on the origin state.

Amending the First Amendment


Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda critically discusses attempts to amend the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Rotunda describes some of the alarming implications of the proposal in the Senate, which already has 41 cosponsors, and he warns that the passage of the proposal will lead to the taking away of important rights the First Amendment granted.