Symeon C. Symeonides
Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law; Dean Emeritus
- Ph.D. honoris causa
- S.J.D. Harvard University
- LL.M. Harvard University
- LL.B. (Public Law) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude
- LL.B. (Private Law) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude
Symeon C. Symeonides received his first two law degrees (in private and public law) from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece and the next two (an LL.M. and an S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate for his life-time achievements from the University of Thessaloniki. He began his teaching career in 1976 at the University of Thessaloniki and in 1978 he continued at the Louisiana State University Law Center, where he became the Judge Albert Tate Professor of Law (1987) and vice chancellor (1991-97). He joined Willamette in 1999 as dean of the College of Law. He has lectured at the prestigious Hague Academy of International Law and several European and American universities, and has taught at the universities of Paris-I (Sorbonne), Paris-V (Descartes), Aix-en-Provence, Louvain-la-Neuve, Tulane and Loyola (New Orleans).
Professor Symeonides has authored or co-authored 24 books and 110 articles, some of which have been published in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. He has been characterized as a “conflicts giant” (60 Stanford L. Rev. 247, at 249 (2007)) and “perhaps the world’s leading expert on comparative conflicts law today.” (The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law 1363, at 1380 (2006)). His work has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (formerly House of Lords) and has received numerous laudatory reviews. The May 2005 issue of the Michigan Law Review characterized one of Symeonides’ books as a “brilliant contribution to legal theory, an impressive, original, one-of-a-kind book,” as well as “engrossing" and “often magnetic, a page-turner.” The American Journal of Comparative Law (Vol. 52:4) praised Symeonides for “his path-breaking work on choice-of-law codification and his penetrating critiques of conflicts law and theory” and for the fair-minded tone and substance of his scholarship, noting that Symeonides “has continuously demonstrated that exercise of a sharp, critical mind does not require antagonism, that one can present important and original work without condemning the work of others, [and] that theory and critique can be both intelligible and profound.”
The AALS Section of Conflict of Laws has praised Dean Symeonides’ for his “enormously influential” publications, which “have proved extraordinarily helpful to the members of the section, other academics, the bench and the practicing bar.” In 2000, the Louisiana Law Review published A Tribute to Symeon C. Symeonides, a collection of 26 essays authored by prominent American and international academics honoring Symeonides for his contributions to the development of comparative law, conflicts law and civil law. In 2002, Dean Symeonides received the first Friedrich K. Juenger Prize in Private International Law, which was awarded by the American Society of Comparative Law.
Professor Symeonides is Honorary and past president of the American Society of Comparative Law, vice president of the International Association of Legal Science, former chair and chair-elect of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Conflict of Laws, former President of the Common Law Group of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and member of the Groupe europeen de droit international prive (GEDIP), Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Coif, the American Law Institute, the European Law Institute, the Oregon Law Commission and the Bartolus Society.
Professor Symeonides has been active in law reform. He has drafted: Book IV of the Louisiana Civil Code on Conflict of Laws; the new law of leases for the same state; the Oregon statute on choice of law for tort conflicts; and a Draft Code of Private International Law for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He also has provided legislative advice to the European Union Parliament and the governments of the Russian Federation, Estonia and Tunisia. Symeonides spent the second half of 2012 in Brussels, working on law reform for the European Union. He chaired five working groups consisting of representatives of the 27 EU Member States and drafting laws on: jurisdiction and judgment recognition; sales; cross-border freezing of bank accounts; matrimonial property disputes; and property disputes between same-sex partners. He also represented the Presidency of the EU Council in negotiating a new international Convention on Choice of Law for International Contracts.
His teaching subjects include Conflict of Laws, Comparative Law, International Litigation and Property.
In March 2009, Symeonides was named the Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law at Willamette University.
Below is a video of The Inaugural Alex L. Parks Distinguished Lecture and Dinner Presentation.