Symeon C. Symeonides
Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law; Dean Emeritus
- Ph.D. honoris causa
- S.J.D. Harvard University
- LL.M. Harvard University
- LL.B. (Public Law) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude
- LL.B. (Private Law) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), summa cum laude
Symeon C. Symeonides received his first two law degrees (in private and public law) from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece and the next two (an LL.M. and an S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate for his life-time achievements from the University of Thessaloniki. He began his teaching career in 1976 at the University of Thessaloniki and in 1978 he continued at the Louisiana State University Law Center, where he became the Judge Albert Tate Professor of Law (1987) and vice chancellor (1991-97). He joined Willamette in 1999 as dean of the College of Law. He has lectured at the prestigious Hague Academy of International Law and several European and American universities, and has taught at the universities of Paris-I (Sorbonne), Paris-V (Descartes), Aix-en-Provence, Louvain-la-Neuve, Tulane and Loyola (New Orleans).
Symeonides has authored or co-authored 24 books and 112 articles, some of which have been published in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. He has been characterized as a “conflicts giant” (60 Stanford L. Rev. 247, at 249 (2007)) and “perhaps the world’s leading expert on comparative conflicts law today.” (The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law 1363, at 1380 (2006)). His work has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (formerly House of Lords) and has received numerous laudatory reviews. The May 2005 issue of the Michigan Law Review characterized one of Symeonides’ books as a “brilliant contribution to legal theory, an impressive, original, one-of-a-kind book,” as well as “engrossing" and “often magnetic, a page-turner.” The American Journal of Comparative Law (Vol. 52:4) praised Symeonides for “his path-breaking work on choice-of-law codification and his penetrating critiques of conflicts law and theory” and for the fair-minded tone and substance of his scholarship, noting that Symeonides “has continuously demonstrated that exercise of a sharp, critical mind does not require antagonism, that one can present important and original work without condemning the work of others, [and] that theory and critique can be both intelligible and profound.”
His scholarly work has been honored with numerous awards. A resolution of the AALS Section of Conflict of Laws praised his “enormously influential” and “extraordinarily helpful” publications (1998). The Louisiana Law Review published A Tribute to Symeon C. Symeonides, a collection of articles by 26 prominent American and international academics (2000). The Asociación Americana de Derecho Internacional Privado (ASADIP) honored Symeonides for “his outstanding career and his exceptional contribution to the advancement of private international law” (2010), and the Academia Mexicana de Derecho Privado y Comparado (AMEDIP) named its 34th national congress “en honor del Dr. Symeon Symeonides” (2011). The American Society of Comparative Law awarded him the Friedrich K. Juenger Prize in Private International Law (2002) and the Courtland H. Peterson Senior Scholar Prize (2013). Willamette University awarded him the Robert L. Misner Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship(2012).
In 2013, Symeonides was elected member of the Institut de Droit International, the oldest and most prestigious international law organization. This is the highest distinction in international law, if only because the Institute’s membership is limited and must be representative of all regions of the world. Only six other Americans are members of the Institute.
Symeonides is president of the International Association of Legal Science, past president of the American Society of Comparative Law, chair of the AALS Section of Conflicts of Laws, titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, life member of the American Law Institute, member of the Groupe Européen de Droit International Privé (GEDIP), Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Coif, and the Oregon Law commission, and fellow of the European Law Institute.
Professor Symeonides has been active in law reform. He has drafted: Book IV of the Louisiana Civil Code on Conflict of Laws; the new law of leases for the same state; the Oregon statute on choice of law for tort conflicts; and a Draft Code of Private International Law for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He also has provided legislative advice to the European Union Parliament and the governments of the Russian Federation, Estonia and Tunisia. Symeonides spent the second half of 2012 in Brussels, working on law reform for the European Union. He chaired five working groups consisting of representatives of the 27 EU Member States and drafting laws on: jurisdiction and judgment recognition; sales; cross-border freezing of bank accounts; matrimonial property disputes; and property disputes between same-sex partners. He also represented the Presidency of the EU Council in negotiating a new international Convention on Choice of Law for International Contracts.
His teaching subjects include Conflict of Laws, Comparative Law, International Litigation and Property.
In March 2009, Symeonides was named the Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law at Willamette University.
Below is a video of The Inaugural Alex L. Parks Distinguished Lecture and Dinner Presentation.