Sepehr Shahshahani





CV (pdf)


Welcome! I am an associate professor at Fordham University School of Law, where I teach civil procedure and intellectual property. My research, which uses formal and quantitative methods alongside doctrinal analysis, is focused on judicial decisionmaking, the role of courts in policymaking, and intellectual property law. It has investigated, for example, the impact of judges' religious affiliation on their decisions; the interaction of interest groups, Congress, and the courts in making technology policy; the effect of appellate standards of review on factfinding and lawmaking; the horizontal diffusion of legal doctrine; the effect of patents on follow-on innovation; and the relationship between economic concentration and the concentration of lobbying power. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews, including the Cornell Law Reivew, Journal of Law & Economics, the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, the Journal of Legal Studies, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, the NYU Law Review, and the Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

I got my Ph.D. from the Department of Politics at Princeton University, where I received a Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship for "the highest scholarly excellence in graduate work." At Princeton, I was an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP), the Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA), and the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP).

I was born and raised in Iran. Before embarking on an academic career, I was a litigator in New York and a law clerk to federal judges.



"When Hard Cases Make Bad Law: A Theory of How Case Facts Affect Judge-Made Law." Cornell Law Review (forthcoming 2024) (SSRN).

"The Missing Element in Trademark Infringement" (with Maggie Wittlin). Iowa Law Review (forthcoming 2024) (SSRN).

"Testing Political Antitrust" (with Nolan McCarty). NYU Law Review (2023) (SSRN).

"Measuring Follow-On Innovation" (with Janet Freilich). Research Policy (2023) (SSRN).

"Hard Cases Make Bad Law? A Theoretical Investigation." Journal of Legal Studies (2022) (SSRN).

"Coordination and Innovation in Judiciaries: Correct Law vs. Consistent Law" (with Charles Cameron and Mehdi Shadmehr). Quarterly Journal of Political Science (2022) (SSRN).

"The Fact-Law Distinction: Strategic Factfinding and Lawmaking in a Judicial Hierarchy." Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization (2021) (SSRN).

"The Role of Courts in Technology Policy." Journal of Law & Economics (2018) (SSRN).

"Religion and Judging on the Federal Courts of Appeals" (with Lawrence Liu). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2017) (SSRN).

"The Nirvana Fallacy in Fair Use Reform." Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology (2015) (SSRN).

"The Design of Useful Article Exclusion: A Way Out of the Mess." Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (2010) (SSRN).

Note, "Politics Under the Cover of Law: Can International Law Help Resolve the Iran Nuclear Crisis?" Boston University International Law Journal (2007) (PDF).

Selected Working Papers

"Anti-Intellectualism in American Intellectual Property"

"Judges, Creative Lawyers, and Legal Innovation" (with Deborah Beim)

"Strategic Abstention, Missing Data, and Ideal Point Estimation" (with Asya Magazinnik) (poster)