Symeon C. Symeonides received his first law degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Law School (Greece) with the highest grade in that school’s history—a perfect 10 out of 10. He also holds an LLM and an SJD from the Harvard Law School, and three honorary doctorates. He joined Willamette in 1999 as Dean of the College of Law and served in that capacity until 2011. Previously, he taught at the University of Thessaloniki (1976-78), and Louisiana State University, where he was the Judge Albert Tate Professor of Law (1987) and vice chancellor (1991-97). He has taught at the universities of Paris-I (Sorbonne), Paris-V (Descartes), Aix-en-Provence, Louvain-la-Neuve, NYU, Tulane, and Loyola, and lectured at The Hague Academy of International Law and in more than fifty universities in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. He is also an honorary professor at the East China University of Politics and Law, Shanghai, China.
Symeonides has published 29 books and more than 120 articles, some of which appear in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, or Spanish. His work has been cited by the supreme courts of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel (22 times). Reviewers of his work refer to him as “the conflicts giant” (H. Levin 2006, O. Lando 2015), “the father of choice of law in the twenty-first century” (J. Singer 2021), and “the world’s leading expert on US and comparative conflicts law” (M. Reimann 2006, R. Michaels 2021). His last book has been characterized as “a worthy successor” of Joseph Story’s classic Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws (1834) and “an asset for the discipline in the United States and worldwide” (R. Michaels 2021). Reviewers of his previous books characterized them as “brilliant contributions to legal theory”, “original”, and “one-of-a-kind” (L. Weinberg, 2005), “masterful” and “indispensable” (Am. Soc. Int’l L. 2015), “cogent”, “penetrating” and “path breaking” (G. Shreve 2004), “superb” (W. Richman 2008), and “exceptionally valuable” (G. Simson 2019).
His scholarly work has been honored with: two Lifetime Achievement awards (2015 and 2019); the Friedrich K. Juenger Prize (2002); the Robert L. Misner Award (2012, 2016); the Courtland H. Peterson Senior Scholar Prize (2013); a Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law (2015); the publication of A Tribute to Symeon C. Symeonides, 60 La. L. Rev. 1035-1399 (2000); and resolutions of appreciation by the AALS Section of Conflict of Laws (for his “enormously influential” and “extraordinarily helpful” publications (1998)); the Asociación Americana de Derecho Internacional Privado (for “his outstanding career and his exceptional contribution to the advancement of private international law” (2010)); and the Academia Mexicana de Derecho Privado y Comparado, which named its 34th national congress in his honor.
Symeonides has served as president of the International Association of Legal Science, the American Society of Comparative Law, and the AALS Section of Conflicts of Laws, and vice president of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He is a member of the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea), titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and the Institut de Droit International, life member of the American Law Institute and the Groupe Européen de Droit International Privé, a member of the Order of the Coif and Phi Beta Kappa, and a fellow of the European Law Institute.
Symeonides has an extensive record in law reform. He drafted the Louisiana codification on Conflict of Laws, the Oregon codification for tort conflicts, a draft Code of Private International Law for Puerto Rico, and an international model law on internet conflicts, which has been unanimously adopted by the Institut de Droit International. He spent six months in Brussels, chairing five working groups drafting new laws for the European Union and represented the Presidency of the EU council in negotiating an international convention. He was a member of an Experts’ Group and a Working Group that drafted another convention under the auspices of The Hague Conference on Private International Law. He currently serves as an Adviser for the Third Restatement on Conflict of Laws for the ALI, and as a Supervisor in drafting the Asian Principles of Private International Law. He also provided legislative advice to the EU Parliament and the governments of Cyprus, Estonia, Russia, and Tunisia.
His teaching subjects include Conflict of Laws, Comparative Law, and International Litigation & Arbitration.
- PhD, University of Cyprus, honoris causa
- LLD, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, honoris causa
- LLD, Willamette University, honoris causa
- SJD, Harvard University
- LLM, Harvard University
- LLB (Public Law), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude
- LLB (Private Law), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude