Bio


Anne Joseph O’Connell is a lawyer and social scientist whose research and teaching focuses on administrative law and the federal bureaucracy. Outside of Stanford, she is a contributor to the Center on Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution and an appointed senior fellow 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 a number of topics, including agency rulemaking, the selection of agency leaders, and bureaucratic organization (and reorganization). Her publications have appeared in leading law and political science journals. She has co-edited a book (with Daniel A. Farber), Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law, and she joined the Gellhorn and Byse’s Administrative Law casebook as a co-editor with the twelfth edition.

O’Connell’s research has received a number of awards. She is a two-time recipient of the ABA’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 untenured faculty members. In addition, her research has been cited by Congress, the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit, and has been featured in the Washington Post and other national media.

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.” She currently co-chairs the school’s efforts to improve teaching and classroom climate and serves on the steering committee for Stanford University’s Faculty Women’s Forum. Prior to joining Stanford University in 2018, O’Connell was the George Johnson Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, she 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, O’Connell 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 during the Supreme Court’s October 2003 term. From 2001 to 2003, she was a trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s Federal Programs Branch where she received special commendation for her work. She clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2000 to 2001. A Truman Scholar, O’Connell worked for a number of federal agencies in earlier years, including the Department of Defense (General Counsel and Inspector General), Federal Trade Commission (Bureau of Competition), Department of Justice (Office of Legal Counsel), and U.S. Army (RDE). She is a member of the New York bar and served as a volunteer for the Biden-Harris Campaign’s policy team.

Academic Appointments


Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Senior Fellow, Administrative Conferences of the United States (2020 - Present)
  • Public Member, Administrative Conference of the United States (2014 - 2020)

Professional Education


  • BA, Williams College, Mathematics
  • MPhil, Cambridge University, History and Philosophy of Science
  • JD, Yale Law School
  • PhD, Harvard University, Political Economy and Government

2021-22 Courses


All Publications


  • Brevity, Speed, and Deference: An Account from the Williams Chambers YALE JOURNAL ON REGULATION Hausman, D. K., Ho, D. E., O'Connell, A. 2021; 38 (3): 745-751
  • ACTINGS COLUMBIA LAW REVIEW O'Connell, A. 2020; 120 (3): 613–728
  • Loyalty-Competence Trade-offs for Top U.S. Federal Bureaucratic Leaders in the Administrative Presidency Era PRESIDENTIAL STUDIES QUARTERLY Krause, G. A., O'connell, A. 2019; 49 (3): 527–50

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psq.12525

    View details for Web of Science ID 000481440600004