Robert M. Lawless

Associate Dean for Research
Max L. Rowe Professor of Law
Co-Director, Illinois Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science

Robert Lawless ( is the associate dean for research, Max L. Rowe Professor of Law, and co-director of the Illinois Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science. He specializes in bankruptcy, consumer credit, and business law. Professor Lawless has published numerous articles on these topics, most all of which use empirical methodology to better understand the legal system and how it affects society. Along with University of Illinois law professors Jennifer K. Robbennolt and Thomas S. Ulen, he is the co-author of Empirical Methods in Law, a textbook on empirical methodologies as applied to the study of law.

Professor Lawless is one of five regular contributors to the blog Credit Slips, a discussion on credit, finance, and bankruptcy. He also participates in the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, a long-term empirical project studying persons who file bankruptcy. Professor Lawless is a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference and the American College of Bankruptcy. He has testified before Congress, and his work has been featured in media outlets such as CNN, CNBC, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, the National Law Journal, the L.A. Times, the Financial Times,and Money magazine.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Professor Lawless was the Gordon & Silver, Ltd. Professor of Law at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law. From 1993 to 2002, he was on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and he has been a visiting faculty member at the University of Illinois, Ohio State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Lawless began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable Harlington Wood, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then practiced law in Washington, D.C., with the firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger. He received both his B.S. (Accounting) with highest honors and J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Illinois, and served as editor-in-chief of the University of Illinois Law Review.

Follow Professor Lawless on Twitter @BobLawless1 and occasionally on @CreditSlips.