Skip to main content

James Nafziger

Thomas B. Stoel Professor of Law; Director of International Law Programs

Headshot of James Nafziger

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Collins Legal Center 427
245 Winter Street SE
Salem  Oregon  97301


After clerking on the federal court, Professor Nafziger was Henry Luce Fellow and, later, Administrative Director of the American Society of International Law. He is also Honorary Professor of the East China University of Politics and Law, and has been a member of the full-time law faculties at the University of Oregon, Marquette University (as the Boden Visiting Professor), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (as a Fulbright Lecturer), and the National and Otgontenger Universities in Mongolia (as a Fulbright Lecturer). He has also taught extensively at the University of California-Davis, University of Wisconsin, Trinity College in Dublin, the University of Barcelona, and other institutions. At Willamette, Nafziger has focused his teaching and scholarship in the fields of international law and dispute resolution, conflict of laws, international business transactions, cultural heritage law, sports law, immigration and refugee law, comparative law, arbitration, and international litigation. He initiated and served as the reporter of Oregon’s codification of choice-of-law rules for torts and contracts (the world’s first common law jurisdiction to do so).

Nafziger, a vice-chair of the International Law Association (ILA) and member of its Executive Council and Management Committee, is the former president and chair of the executive committee of the ILA’s American Branch and serves on its Board.  He also serves as secretary of the American Society of International Law and as a member of its Executive Council and Executive Committee. His other professional leadership includes membership on the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law and formerly on the National Council of the United Nations Association, of whose Oregon Division he was president and from which he received its Distinguished Service Award. Nafziger is the honorary president of the International Association of Sports Law, past president of the Oregon International Council and past treasurer of the American Society of Comparative Law, in which he continues to serve as a liaison with the American Council of Learned Societies. An elected member of the American Law Institute and the International Academy of Comparative Law, he has chaired five sections and one workshop of the Association of American Law Schools.

In 2005, Nafziger served as co-director of studies at the Centre for Studies and Research in the Hague Academy of International Law. He was also scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Center in Italy and a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Organization for Migration. He received an award for extraordinary contributions from the American Society of Comparative Law and the first Aisimnitis Award from the University of Athens for outstanding academic contributions to the development of sports law. In addition, the Burlington Northern Foundation presented him with its Faculty Achievement Award for excellence in teaching and scholarly activity.

He was the first recipient of the Willamette University President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship. In granting the award, former President Lee Pelton said, “Professor Nafziger truly exemplifies the reasons for which this award was established, namely to recognize, reward and promote exceptional achievement in scholarship. Nafziger’s accomplishments are absolutely outstanding and unsurpassed. Not only is he by far the most productive scholar ever to serve on the College of Law faculty, but he is also one of the most prolific American scholars of his generation.”

Nafziger has authored or edited fifteen books, more than 150 published articles and chapters in books, and 100 other writings.


  • JD, Harvard University (note and comment editor for the Harvard International Law Journal)
  • MA, University of Wisconsin
  • BA, University of Wisconsin with high honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Current Professional Leadership

  • Vice-Chair, International Law Association (ILA) 
  • Honorary Vice President, American Branch, ILA
  • Secretary, American Society of International Law
  • Honorary President, International Association of Sports Law
  • Honorary Chairman, Board of Directors, International Athlete Rights Association
Willamette University

Faculty Support

Willamette University
College of Law
245 Winter Street SE
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
(503) 370-6405