Faculty in the News

Kenneth Anderson

Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University
Visiting Fellow, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University
Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1986
B.A., UCLA, 1983

Professor Kenneth (Ken) Anderson grew up in southern California, graduating from UCLA in 1983. After law school at Harvard, he clerked for Justice Joseph R. Grodin of the California Supreme Court in San Francisco, and then went to New York to become a tax associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. During law school and afterward, he maintained an active pro bono relationship with Human Rights Watch (HRW), conducting many field missions for it in Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama and elsewhere in Latin America, Yugoslavia, Georgia and other places. He went to work for HRW full-time in 1991 as the first director of its Arms Division, focused on armed conflict, arms, and the laws of war; he initiated HRW's landmines ban campaign with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. After several years at HRW, he combined his expertise in tax law, including not-for-profit and financial transactions law, and became the first General Counsel to the Open Society Institute, George Soros' worldwide charitable foundation. In 1996 he joined the faculty of the Washington College of Law, American University, in Washington D.C., where he remains today. In addition to his WCL faculty appointment, he maintains active affiliations through the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Brookings Institution, Washington D.C. He has twice visited at Harvard Law School, once in 1993-95 as the lecturer on world organization, and again in 2000.

Anderson's teaching is split between business/finance/transactional courses and public international law. At WCL, taught Business Associations, Corporate Finance, International Business Transactions and First Year Law and Economics. Recently, he has also taught Law of Private Equity, Venture Capital and Hedge Funds; and seminars on financial contracts and derivatives. His teaching in the global transactional areas has long been supported by the fifteen years he just completed on the board, as chair and special counsel, to a leading nonprofit development finance fund, the Media Development Loan Fund, which provides financing and technical assistance to developing world newspapers, radios, TV and internet ventures; its portfolio of some $60 million has provided innovative developing world and emerging market funding, as well as innovative funding techniques, including unique derivatives products. This pro bono position, as well as other work in development finance and international philanthropy finance have given Anderson an on-going flow of transactional experience akin to an of-counsel position. In addition, he serves as the U.S. board chair of the Rift Valley Institute, a UK-Kenya-Sudan based nonprofit institute focused on long-term development issues in the Rift Valley region and Sudan in particular. He is also a senior fellow of the Institute. He has held a variety of other pro bono appointments, in human rights, development and security.

Anderson has published on development finance and microfinance, and is coming out with a book on financial regulation reform with Duke's Steven L. Schwarcz next year. His current research interests in these areas run toward risk regulation and the comparison of risk regulation models in finance and national security. This includes current articles on proportionality and how it applies in cost-benefit analysis in ordinary business modeling, and in the laws of war, such as targeting and collateral damage questions. He is also increasingly interested in the philosophy of economics, and is working on a long term project on the "moral psychology" of finance and the intersection of "virtue ethics" and economics.

Anderson's teaching in the public international law areas has included courses on international law, international organizations, international human rights, the laws of war, and specialized courses on just war ethics, U.N.-U.S. relations and aspects of national security and the war on terror. His work in these areas is supported by his appointments at the Hoover Institution and the Brookings Institution; in addition, he is a long time editorial board member of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, and the political sciences editor of the (Madrid) Revista de Libros. As a scholar, he writes extensively on public international law issues ranging from the laws of war to global governance. His book, Returning to Earth: U.N.-U.S. Relations and the Meaning of Engagement and Multilateralism in a Multipolar World, will appear from Hoover Press in 2010-11. His current interests are focused on robotics generally, but particularly with regards to battlefield robots, and UAVs and Predator drone warfare. He is currently producing a short book on targeted killing and drone warfare with co-author Benjamin Wittes. Anderson also writes extensively on international nongovernmental organizations and global civil society.

In addition to scholarly articles and chapters, Anderson is a longtime contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, the Revista de Libros (Madrid), the New York Times Magazine, the Weekly Standard and other general interest venues. He blogs as a regular member of the Volokh Conspiracy and the international law blog Opinio Juris. Many of his articles can be found at his SSRN author page.