Allison Orr Larsen

Allison Orr Larsen

Alfred Wilson & Mary I.W. Lee Professor of Law and Director, Institute of the Bill of Rights Law
Degrees: J.D., University of Virginia; B.A., College of William and Mary
Email: [[amlarsen]]
Office phone: (757) 221-7985
Office location: Room 254D
Full resume: here (.pdf in new window)
Areas of Specialization

Administrative Law; Appellate Advocacy; Constitutional Law; Federal Courts; Legislation

Teaching Interests

Administrative Law; Constitutional Law; Statutory Interpretation

Representative Professional Activities and Achievements

Allison Orr Larsen is the Alfred Wilson & Mary I.W. Lee Professor of Law at William & Mary where she also directs the Institute for the Bill of Rights Law. Professor Larsen teaches courses in constitutional law, administrative law, and statutory interpretation. Since joining the William & Mary law faculty in 2010, Larsen has received many awards honoring her teaching and scholarship including: the university’s Alumni Fellowship Award, the Walter L. Williams Jr. Memorial Teaching Award, the 1L Professor of the Year Award, two university-wide Plumeri Awards, the inaugural McGlothlin Teaching Award and the state-wide Outstanding Faculty Award in the “Rising Star” category (the latter is Virginia’s highest faculty honor, awarded by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia).

Professor Larsen is a scholar of constitutional law and legal institutions, with a focus on how information dynamics affect both. Her work on fact-finding at the Supreme Court has been featured multiple times in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and was also the subject of her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April 2021. Larsen has published in the nation’s top law reviews, and her work has been cited by four different U.S. Courts of Appeals. She appeared with Stephen Colbert as a guest on The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) to discuss her scholarship on Supreme Court amicus briefs, a subject on which she also testified before the Presidential Commission on Supreme Court Reform.

Professor Larsen received her B.A. from William & Mary in 1999 and her law degree in 2004 from the University of Virginia where she graduated first in her class. After law school, Professor Larsen clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and for Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to joining the William & Mary faculty, Professor Larsen was an associate in the appellate practice group at O’Melveny and Myers in Washington DC.

Professor Larsen spent the fall of 2016 as a visiting scholar at Oxford University, and the fall of 2018 as the Daniel P.S. Paul Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School.

Click here to read about Professor Larsen testifying to the Senate about her research.

Click here to view SCHEV Award article in William & Mary News.

Click here to watch Professor Larsen on The Colbert Report.

In the News
  • Melissa Quinn, 4 major takeaways from the Supreme Court's most consequential term in years, CBS News, July 3, 2024. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, In Abortion Cases, Legions of ‘Friends’ Seek to Persuade Supreme Court, N.Y. Times, June 24, 2024. Online.
  • Ann Marimow, This Humble Fish may help the Supreme Court weaken the administrative state, Washington Post, January 15, 2024. Online.
  • Melissa Quinn, Amid blockbuster decisions on affirmative action, student loan relief and free speech, Supreme Court's term sees Roberts "back on top",CBS News, July 7, 2023. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, The Curious Rise of a Supreme Court Doctrine That Threatens Biden’s Agenda, N.Y. Times, March 6, 2023. Online.
  • Melissa Quinn, Supreme Court's Conservatives Assert Control as Momentous Term Comes to an End, CBS News, June 30, 2022. Online.
  • Greg Stohr, Abortion, Gun Rulings Show Supreme Court Ready to ‘Jolt’ System, Bloomberg, June 26, 2022. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, June 24, 2022: The Day Chief Justice Roberts Lost His Court, N.Y. Times, June 24, 2022. Online.
  • Jeremy Peters, Supreme Court Leak Inquiry Exposes Gray Area of Press Protections, N.Y. Times, May 8, 2022. Online.
  • Sadie Gurman, Supreme Court Hunt for Who Leaked Draft Roe v. Wade Opinion Has No Road Map, The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2022. Online .
  • Ann E. Marrow, How a Supreme Court case is decided, Wash. Post, May 3, 2022. Online.
  • Greg Stohr, Extraordinary Abortion Leak Threatens Trust at Supreme Court, Bloomberg Law, May 3, 2022. Online.
  • Michael Macagnone, Draft leak a ‘shocking change’ for typically airtight Supreme Court, Roll Call, May 3, 2022. Online.
  • Avalon Zoppo, How Fostering 'Circuit Personalities' Can Help Curb Partisan Divisions in the Judiciary, Nat'l L.J., Apr. 22, 2022. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, The Problem of ‘Personal Precedents’ of Supreme Court Justices, N.Y. Times, Apr. 4, 2022. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, A Supreme Court Term Marked by a Conservative Majority in Flux, N.Y. Times, July 2, 2021. Online.
  • Greg Stohr, Supreme Court’s Conservatives Duck ‘Big Waves’ as Storms Loom, Bloomberg, June 18, 2021. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, New Supreme Court Term Could End Roberts’s Dominant Role, N.Y. Times, Oct. 4, 2020. Online.
  • Jess Bravin, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Puts Spotlight on Affordable Care Act, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2020. Online.
  • Greg Stohr, Post-Scalia Court Has Liberals Winning, Conservatives Venting, Bloomberg, June 28, 2016. Online.
  • Theresa Vargas, What was lost, what was gained: Women share abortion stories with Supreme Court, Wash. Post, Apr. 11, 2016. Online.
  • Adam Liptak, Study Shows How Much Work It Takes to Be Supreme Court's Friend, N.Y. Times, Mar. 7, 2016. Online.
For additional recent press interviews, click here

Scholarly Publications
  • How the Courts Can Save Themselves (Oxford U. Press) (with Neal E. Devins).
  • Judicial Decision-making (West 2020) (with Andrew Martin, et al.).
Articles and Book Chapters
  • The Precarious Art of Classifying Facts, 73 Duke L.J. Online 191 (2024).
  • Becoming a Doctrine, 76 Fla. L. Rev. 1 (2024). SSRN.
  • Circuit Personalities, 108 Va. L. Rev. 1315 (2022) (with Neal E. Devins).
  • Weaponizing En Banc, 96 NYU L. Rev. 1373 (2021) (with Neal E. Devins). SSRN.
  • Judging "Under Fire" and the Retreat to Facts, 61 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1083 (2020). SSRN.
  • Virtual Briefing at the Supreme Court, 105 Cornell L. Rev. 85 (2019) (with Jeff Fisher). SSRN.
  • Supreme Court Norms of Impersonality, 33 Const. Comment. 373 (2018). SSRN.
  • Constitutional Law in an Age of Alternative Facts, 93 NYU L. Rev. 175 (2018). SSRN.
  • Judicial Fact-Finding in an Age of Rapid Change: Creative Reforms from Abroad, 130 Harv. L. Rev. F. 316 (2017). Online.
  • The Amicus Machine, 102 Va. L. Rev. 1901 (2016) (with Neal E. Devins). SSRN.
  • Do Laws Have a Constitutional Shelf Life?, 94 Tex. L. Rev. 59 (2015). SSRN.
  • The Trouble with Amicus Facts, 100 Va. L. Rev. 1757 (2014). SSRN.
  • Factual Precedents, 162 U. Pa. L. Rev. 59 (2013). SSRN.
  • Confronting Supreme Court Fact Finding, 98 Va. L. Rev. 1255 (2012). SSRN.
  • Bargaining Inside the Black Box, 99 Geo. L.J. 1567 (2011). SSRN.
  • Perpetual Dissents, 15 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 447 (2008). SSRN.
  • Why the Word ‘Doctrine’ Matters in the Major Questions Doctrine, Bloomberg Law, July 6, 2023. Online.
  • The Supreme Court Decisions on Guns and Abortion Relied Heavily on History. But Whose History?, Politico, July 26, 2022. Online.
  • Legal scholarship highlight: The Amicus Machine, SCOTUSblog (2016) (with Neal E. Devins). Online.

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