University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Ph.D., History, 2016

Honors: Annenberg History Fellow, Rothberg Scholar

Dissertation: “Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Development of American Commerce, 1780-1870” 

University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, PA

 J.D., magna cum laude, May, 2011

Honors: Articles Editor and Symposium Coordinator, University of Pennsylvania Law Review 

Rice University, Houston, TX

B.A. in History, magna cum laude, January 2006

Honors: Phi Beta Kappa


Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing, MI

 Assistant Professor 2020-Present    

Director, Citing Slavery Project

Director, Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics and the Legal Profession

Teaching Commercial Law, Professional Responsibility, and legal history

 Willamette University College of Law, Salem, OR

Visiting Assistant Professor, 2019-2020

Taught “Secured Transactions,” “Contracts II,” and “Sales.”

 Northwestern University Center for Legal Studies, Evanston, IL

Jack Miller Teaching and Researching Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2017-2019

Constructed and taught three legal history seminars and received mean instructor rating of 5.7/6. Researched and wrote about legal history, fiduciary law, professional ethics, and race and the law. Organized Jack Miller Center Legal Studies speaker series.

 American Bar Foundation, Chicago, IL

Visiting Scholar, 2017-2019

 Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, Buffalo, NY

Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2015-2017

Finished research and writing for dissertation. Conducted research on legal history and law and economic development. Participated in Baldy Center Workshops and Advanced Law and Society Research Seminar and started legal history workshop. 

United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit, Philadelphia, PA

Law Clerk to the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, 2012-2013 

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Teaching Assistant to Professor Stephanie McCurry and Professor Steven Hahn, 2011-2012

Research and Teaching Assistant to Professor David Zaring, 2009-2011

Research Assistant to Professor Sarah Barringer Gordon, 2008, 2010 

Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Legal Clinic Advocate, Summer 2009


The Precedential Weight of Slavery, 47 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change (forthcoming 2023)

"In Reference to the Death of Isham": Slavery, Law, and their Afterlives (article with Julia Bernier), 88 J.S. Hist. 615 (2022)

The Recurent Current Crisis in Legal Education, 56 Willamette L. Rev. 407 (2020) (invited symposium contribution)

Citing Slavery, 72 Stan. L. Rev. 79 (2020)

This article examines the continued citation of nineteenth slave cases by American judges in the last three decades and asks the legal profession to confront its legacy of support for slave commerce.

 Lawyers as Trusted Agents in Nineteenth-Century American Commerce: The Influence of Fiduciary Norms and Equity on Economic Development (article with Michael Halberstam), 44 Law & Soc.Inquiry 132 (2020) (peer reviewed)

We chart the emergence of distinctive, equity-based fiduciary laws and norms among the American legal profession and argue that these norms significantly influenced the development and growth of early nineteenth-century markets.  

Slavery’s Legalism: Lawyers and the Commercial Routine of Slavery, 37 Law & Hist. Rev. 571 (2019) (peer reviewed)

Following the career of Georgia lawyer and Supreme Court Justice, E.A. Nisbet, this article examines how the legal profession’s commitment to legal rules and routine commercial work in the antebellum period allowed them to serve as economic intermediaries between North and South and provided critical support for slave commerce.

 The Birth of a Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Development of American Commerce, 65 Buff.L. Rev. 1059 (2016)

Using legal account books from lawyers on the Ohio frontier and in New York City, this article argues that the private, often out-of- court practice of nineteenth century lawyers helped to build legal institutions, generate liquidity, and shape the American economy.



Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Making of American Commerce, 1780-1870 (book manuscript).

This book, drawn from my dissertation research, examines commercial legal practice in the nineteenth century, illustrating the importance of routine legal work to the development of American capitalism.

Slavery, Self-Help, and Secured Transactions (article-in-progress)

Reimagining Refusal: Enslaved Legal Thought in the Nineteenth Century (article in progress with Julia Bernier)


Engagement Scholarship Consortium, Research Activities Grant, June 2022

Proteus Vital Project Fund Grant, July 2022

Humanities and Arts Research Program Development Grant, February 2022

Program in Early American Economy and Society Short-term Fellowship, January 2016

Library Company of Philadelphia

Received grant to research nineteenth century business manuals.

 Quinn Fellowship, 2014-2015 (declined)

University of Pennsylvania History Department

Morris L. Cohen Essay Competition Winner, Spring 2010

American Association of Law Libraries

“‘The Citadel Must Open Its Gates to the People:’ Judicial Reform at the 1821 New York Constitutional Convention” 

Research Grant, Winter 2009

William Nelson Cromwell Foundation 

Captain Victor Gondos Research Travel Grant, Summer 2009

University of Pennsylvania History Department                       

Sparer Public Interest Fellowship, Summer 2009

Toll Public Interest Center, University of Pennsylvania Law School



“Documenting the Legacy of Slavery in Private Law”

McGill University Faculty of Law, December 1, 2022

“Slavery, Law, and Refusal: Reimagining Enslaved Legal Thought in the Nineteenth Century” (with Julia Bernier)

The Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, November 10-13, 2022

“Addressing the Precedential Weight of Slavery”

University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, September 28, 2022

“Legal Citation and the Precedential Weight of Slavery”

Keynote Address, Law Librarians of New England / Southern New England Law Librarians Association Spring Meeting, June 17, 2022 

“Uncovering the Precedential Weight of Slavery” 

 Legal Studies Law in Motion Lecture, Northwestern University, May 12, 2022

“The Citing Slavery Project: Reckoning with the Law of Slavery and Its Legacy” (with Citing Slavery Project Team)

Michigan State University, February 10, 2022

“The Bluebook Confronts Slavery”

American Association of Law Librarians Conference, July 20, 2021

“Not Citing Slavery”

Online Workshop on the Computational Analysis of Law (OWCAL) Conference, May 13, 2021

“The Law of Slavery and the Alumni of the Litchfield Law School”

Litchfield Historical Society, March 26, 2021

“Citing Slavery”

Race and Property in Historical Perspective: A Series of Conversations about Research & Methods, University of Michigan School of Law, October 14, 2020

"Being Property and Litigating Property: Perspectives on the law of Slavery"

African American Intellectual History Society Annual Meeting, March 6-7, 2020. 

“An Education for Practice: Litchfield Law School and the Early American Commercial Lawyer”

Law and Society Annual Meeting, May 30-June 2, 2019 

“Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Development of American Commerce, 1780-1870”

Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, April 4-7, 2019 

“Citing Slavery”

Midwest Law and Society Retreat, October 26-27, 2018 

“Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer: Lawyers as Commercial Agents in Nineteenth Century America”

Law and Society Annual Meeting, June 7-10, 2018 

“Citing Slavery”

ABF Legal History Seminar, April 25, 2018 

“Financing Reunion: Lawyer Debt Collectors and the Post-War Economy”

The Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, November 9-12, 2017

 “Building Commercial Confidence: Legal Practice in Nineteenth Century America”

American Society for Legal History Annual Meeting, October 26-28, 2017

“Attorneys as Trusted Agents in Nineteenth Century American Commerce” (with Michael Halberstam)

Economic and Business History Conference, May 25-27, 2017

 “The Legal Routine of Nineteenth Century New York Commerce”

Business History Conference Annual Meeting, March 30-April 1, 2017

“The Nineteenth Century American Legal Profession and the Market: Economic Trust in Theory and Practice” (with Michael Halberstam)

Law and Society Annual Meeting, June 2-5, 2016 

“The Finance Factor: Southern Lawyers and Northern Money in the South”

Southern Capitalisms, March 4-5, 2016 

“The Technocrats: Lawyers and Capitalism in Early National America, 1780-1870”

Buffalo History Department Works in Progress Series, February 11, 2016 

“Frontier Property”

University at Buffalo School of Law Faculty Workshop, October 9, 2015 

“Frontier Property: Lawyers and the Development of a Capitalist Environment in the Connecticut Western Reserve”

Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, July 16-19, 2015 

“Responsible Lawyers: Commerce as Calling in the Nineteenth Century New York Bar”

Yale Doctoral Conference, November 14-15, 2014 

“‘The Citadel Must Open Its Gates to the People:’” Judicial Reform at the 1821 New York Constitutional Convention

American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, July 10-13, 2010 

“Law for Lawyers: Legal Training at America’s First Law School”

Ab Initio: Law in Early America, June 16-17, 2010


American Red Cross Disaster Action Team Volunteer, 2017-Present; Volunteer Firefighter with Newstead Fire Company, 2015-2017; Running (2:30:09 marathon at Philadelphia Marathon; Former President, Philadelphia Runner Track Club).