Anne Joseph O’Connell

Faculty Affiliate

Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law

Anne Joseph O’Connell is a lawyer and political scientist whose research and teaching focuses on administrative law and the federal bureaucracy. Outside of the law school, she is a contributor to the Center on Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution and an appointed public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improving regulatory procedures. She is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration, and an elected member of the American Law Institute.

O’Connell has written on many topics, including the appointments process for agencies and courts, agency leaders, bureaucratic organization (and reorganization), and agency rulemaking. Her publications have appeared in leading law and political science journals. In addition, she has done empirical reports for the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress and co-edited a book (with Daniel A. Farber), Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law. She joined the Gellhorn and Byse’s Administrative Law: Cases and Comments casebook as a co-editor for the twelfth edition (January 2018). O’Connell is currently working on a book, Stand-Ins, on temporary leadership in government, business, and religion.

O’Connell’s research has received a number of awards. She is a two-time recipient of the American Bar Association’s Scholarship Award in Administrative Law for the best article or book published in the preceding year — for her 2014 article “Bureaucracy at the Boundary” and her 2009 article “Vacant Offices: Delays in Staffing Top Agency Positions.” She is also a two-time winner of the Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law from the American Constitution Society—for her article “Actings” (co-winner in 2020) and for her co-authored article (with Farber) “The Lost World of Administrative Law” (2014). Her article “Political Cycles of Rulemaking” was the top paper selected for the Association of American Law Schools’ 2007-2008 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. In addition, her research has been cited by Congress, the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit, and has been featured prominently in the Washington Post.

At Stanford Law School, O’Connell teaches administrative law, advanced administrative law, and constitutional law. The class of 2020 chose her to receive the Hurlbut Award, which is given to one professor “who strives to make teaching an art.” Prior to joining Stanford University in 2018, she was the George Johnson Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, O’Connell received the Distinguished Teaching Award (the campus’s most prestigious honor for teaching) in 2016 and Berkeley Law’s Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction in 2012. From April 2013 to July 2015, she served as associate dean for faculty development and research, under three different deans. In 2013-2014, she was co-president of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies (co-organizing the 2014 Conference on Empirical Legal Studies).

Before joining the Berkeley Law faculty in 2004, O’Connell clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court during the October 2003 term. From 2001 to 2003, she was a trial attorney for the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. She clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2000 to 2001. O’Connell is a member of the New York bar.