Stanford Law Review Calls Symeonides a Conflicts Giant

The Stanford Law Review has published a laudatory review of Dean Symeon C. Symeonides’ latest book, The American Choice-of-Law Revolution: Past, Present and Future (2006).

The following are excerpts from the review, authored by Hillel Y. Levin and published in 60 Stanford Law Review 247 (2007) under the title “What Do We Really Know about the American Choice-of-Law Revolution?”

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“[T]the conflicts giant Dean Symeon Symeonides has been at the forefront of the project [of empirical inquiry]. His highly anticipated and ambitious new book, The American Choice-of-Law Revolution: Past, Present and Future, is the pinnacle of his efforts and aims to be the authoritative word on the impact of the revolution. First delivered as a series of lectures at The Hague Academy of International Law in 2002 and now widely available for the first time, it should be required reading for anyone engaging in conflicts scholarship. . . . Revolution offers the finest, most rigorous account of conflicts doctrine as it functions in the courts, as well as a penetrating and thoughtful analysis on how the doctrine should evolve. . . . Revolution is exemplary within both meanings of the word: it is the best example of conflicts scholarship. . . .

Revolution is both an introduction for the foreign student to contemporary American conflicts doctrine and a serious empirical and normative commentary on the doctrine. As such, it occupies a middle space between a basic text and an academic tome, addressed equally to the beginner and the specialist. Surprisingly, it occupies that space quite comfortably, serving both audiences well.

Revolution succeeds in reaching its first audience, the foreigner unfamiliar with the common law and federalist traditions, by virtue of Symeonides’ patience in explaining core concepts, his easy, uncluttered, and engaging style and clear organization, and his use of easily interpreted tables, charts, and diagrams. Yet, despite his care for the novice, the apparent straight talk belies a deep and rich critical discourse on the law.

[Symeonides] presents his findings with marvelous clarity, which, standing alone, is a gift to anyone who grapples with conflicts theory. To lay plain what courts actually do with the doctrine is an enormous achievement, for it demystifies a complex doctrinal area and provides actual guidance for scholar, judge, and practitioner alike.

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Revolution is Symeonides’ 19th book. His next book, American Private International Law, will be released by Kluwer International in March 2008.

Symeonides will deliver a lecture about his book at Stanford Law School on March 5, 2008.