Dean Symeonides is the inaugural holder of the Alex L. Parks Distinguished Chair in Law at Willamette University.
Born in Cyprus, Symeonides received a degree in private law from the University of Thessaloniki Law School in Greece in 1972, graduating with the highest GPA in the school’s history — a perfect 10. A year later, he earned a degree in public law, again graduating first in his class, and then went on to earn an LL.M. and a doctoral degree (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School. Symeonides began his teaching career at the University of Thessaloniki in 1976. Two years later, he joined the law faculty at Louisiana State University, where he became the Judge Albert Tate Professor of Law (1987) and vice chancellor (1991–97). He joined Willamette University in 1999 as dean and professor of law. He also has taught at the Hague Academy of International Law and the universities of Paris-I (Sorbonne), Paris-V (Descartes), Aix-en-Provence, Louvain-la-Neuve, Tulane and Loyola.
Symeonides has published 20 books and 93 articles in six languages. He has been characterized as “the world’s leading expert on comparative conflicts law today” (The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law 1363, at 1380 (2006)) and a “conflicts giant” (60 Stanford L. Rev. 247, at 249 (2007)). He is known for his “path-breaking work on choice-of-law codification and his penetrating critiques of conflicts law and theory” (52 Am. J. Comp. L.1003, at 1004 (2004)). His publications have received numerous laudatory reviews, and he has been honored with the first Friedrich K. Juenger Prize in Private International Law, a congratulatory resolution from the AALS Section on Conflict of Laws, and the publication of A Tribute to Symeon C. Symeonides by the Louisiana Law Review (vol. 60:4). His book The American Choice-of-Law Revolution is one of only five books included in the Hague Academy Monographs, which consists of “seminal” courses delivered at the Academy. The Michigan Law Review (vol. 103 at 1631 et seq.) characterized this book as a “brilliant contribution to legal theory, an impressive, original, one-of-a-kind book,” as well as “engrossing” and “often magnetic.”
Symeonides has been active in law reform throughout his career, having drafted Book IV of the Louisiana Civil Code on Conflict of Laws, the new law of leases for the same state and a Draft Code of Private International Law for Puerto Rico. He also has provided legislative advice to the European Parliament and the governments of Russia, Estonia and Tunisia.
Symeonides is president of the American Society of Comparative Law, vice president of the International Academy of Legal Science, a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and a member of the American Law Institute, the Oregon Law Commission, the Order of the Coif and Phi Beta Kappa. He serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Comparative Law (USA), the Electronic Journal of Comparative Law (Netherlands) and the Yearbook of Private International Law (Switzerland).