Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda is the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, at Chapman University, Fowler School of Law. He joined the faculty in 2008. Before that, he was University Professor and Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law. From 2002 to 2006, he was the George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law. Before that, he was the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, at the University of Illinois.

He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was a member of Harvard Law Review. He joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1974 after clerking for Judge Walter R. Mansfield of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, practicing law in Washington, D.C., and serving as assistant majority counsel for the Watergate Committee.

He has co-authored the most widely used course book on legal ethics, Problems and Materials on Professional Responsibility (Foundation Press, 11th ed. 2011) and is the author of a leading course book on constitutional law, Modern Constitutional Law (West Publishing Co., 10th ed. 2012). He is the coauthor of, Legal Ethics: The Lawyer's Deskbook on Professional Responsibility (ABA-West Group, St. Paul, Minnesota, 7th ed., 2009) (jointly published by the ABA and West Group, a division of Thompson Publishing) (with John Dzienkowski). Rotunda is also the co-author (with John Nowak) of the six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West Publishing Co., 5th ed. 2012), and a one volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West Publishing Co., 8th ed. 2010). He is also the author of several other books and more than 300 articles in various law reviews, journals, newspapers, and books in this country and in Europe. His works have been translated into French, German, Romanian, Czech, Russian, Japanese, and Korean. These books and articles have been cited more than 2000 times by law reviews and by state and federal courts at every level, from trial courts to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been interviewed on radio and television on legal issues, both in this country and abroad. 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 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. He was also selected as one of the Best Lawyers in Southern California, in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 in Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law as published in the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News, and American Law Media. On June 17, 2009, he became a Commissioner of the Fair Political Practices Commission, a state regulatory agency and California’s independent political watchdog. He served until January 31, 2013, when his term expired. In 2012, he became a Distinguished International Research Fellow at the World Engagement Institute, a non-profit, multidisciplinary and academically-based non-governmental organization with the mission to facilitate professional global engagement for international development and poverty reduction. In 2012, Chapman University honored him with The Chapman University Excellence In Scholarly/Creative Work Award, 2011-2012. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Sustainable Human Security (IJSHS), a peer-reviewed publication of the World Engagement Institute (WEI). He was rated, in 2014, as one of “The 30 Most Influential Constitutional Law Professors” in the United States. President Barak Obama was rated number 1.

Columns by Ronald D. Rotunda

Dred Scott After Nearly Two Centuries

Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda the lead-up and history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision—in which the Court in 1857 held that African Americans could not be American citizens and therefore could not sue in federal court. Rotunda explains how the case progressed through the state and subsequently federal courts, and discusses how the decision affected some of the justices sitting on the Court at the time.

Regulating Lawyer Advertising When It Is Not Misleading

Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses a report drafted by the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers finding that state regulation of lawyer advertising involves far more rules and complexity than is necessary. Rotunda points out that in light of the purpose of such rules, the report recommends states that have a single rule that prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services.

The Celgard Decision and Lawyer Disqualification

Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit with respect to the disqualification of a lawyer from representing a client due to a conflict of interest. Rotunda cautions that the decision, if read broadly, could signal major risks for patent firms, but he argues that the decision need not be read so broadly.

Disciplining Lawyers Who Engage in Moral Turpitude

Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda describes the apparent confusion in many jurisdictions over the phrase “moral turpitude” with respect to whether and when attorneys are subject to discipline. Rotunda points out that while many states have adopted the model rules (which, in their current form reject the prohibition against “illegal conduct involving moral turpitude”), these states’ courts still rely on the vague standard when applying the rules.