Ronald K.L. Collins

Photo of Ronald   K.L. Collins
Harold S. Shefelman Scholar


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Professor Collins is the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the UW School of Law. He specializes in First Amendment law, constitutional law, and the law of contracts. Before coming to UW in 2010, he was a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C. He received his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (law review) and his bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara (political philosophy). He clerked for Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and was a Supreme Court Fellow under Chief Justice Warren Burger. After working with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Collins was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School. Thereafter, he taught constitutional law and commercial law at several leading schools, including George Washington University Law Center and Temple Law School. 

He is the editor of The Fundamental Holmes: A Free Speech Chronicle and Reader (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and the co-author of We Must not be Afraid to be Free: Stories about Free Speech in America (Oxford University Press, 2011). His other co-authored works include The Death of Discourse (2d ed. 2005) and The Trials of Lenny Bruce (2002). He is also the editor of The Death of Contract (1995) and Constitutional Government in America (1980). His numerous articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Harvard, Stanford, and Michigan law reviews and the Supreme Court Review. Collins was selected as a Norman Mailer Fellow in fiction writing with a residence in Provincetown (Winter, 2010), this in connection with a forthcoming novel and collection of short stories.

He is also the book editor for SCOTUSblog and the Journal of Legal Education, the editor-in-chief of FIRE's online First Amendment Library, the founder and co-chair of the First Amendment Salons, and co-founder and co-executive director of the History Book Festival (Lewes, DE 2017).

In 2012, Professor Collins received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the editors of the Washington Law Review. In 2012 the American Society of Legal Writers conferred an award on him for his book We Must Not Be Afraid to be Free (with Sam Chaltain).

In 2013, Professor Collins published three books: Nuanced Absolutism: Floyd Abrams and the First Amendment, followed by Mania: The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives that Launched a Generation (with David Skover), followed by On Dissent: Its Meaning in America (with Skover).

In 2017, Oxford University Press will publish The Judge: 26 Machiavellian Lessons, followed by a Cambridge University Press book, Robotica: Free Speech & the Discourse of Data (both with Skover).

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