Jacob Hale Russell


Associate Professor of Law
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Jacob RussellI live in Philadelphia and teach at Rutgers Law School. My courses include the introductory business law course (Business Organizations) and an introduction to capital markets (Securities Regulation). I have also taught seminars on the history and politics of the corporation (Modern Capitalism and the Corporation), the rise of populism (Populism and the Law), and limited liability companies (Advanced Business Organizations, co-taught with Vice Chancellor Travis Laster).

Most of my research looks at how insights from social sciences can inform legal policy design. For instance, I have written skeptically about the use of "nudging" to improve retirement savings decisions, and questioned the way many legal policies interpret individual tastes and preferences. I am also interested in intellectual history and am working on a research project about the evolution of ideas about the corporation, including debates over corporate social responsibility and personhood. I recently examined how ideas about contracts came to influence not-for-profits, enhancing the power and status of donors, and am continuing to write about the governance of charitable foundations. I am also interested in consumer protection and corporate governance. With my colleague Arthur Laby, I edited Fiduciary Obligations in Business, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

With my colleague Dennis Patterson, I am currently writing a book about skepticism, elites, and expertise. The project developed out of a course we co-taught on populism in the spring of 2020. You can hear more about our ideas in these two interviews and in this op-ed.

I serve as vice president of the board of directors of Project HOPE, a federally qualified health center that serves the medical and social needs of the homeless population in Camden County.

I was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering arts, culture, food, and cooking, before inexplicably giving up journalism to study securities regulation. I occasionally write about issues that interest me, such as arguing for expanding the Supreme Court.

You won't find me on Twitter, but you can email me. Here's my PGP public key.