Thomas B. Nachbar

Thomas B. Nachbar

F. D. G. Ribble Professor of Law
Senior Fellow, Miller Center
(434) 924-7588

After earning his undergraduate degree in history and economics, Tom Nachbar spent five years as a systems analyst, working for both Andersen Consulting and Hughes Space and Communications before entering law school, where he served on the University of Chicago Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After graduation, he clerked for Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and later practiced with what is now Mayer Brown in Chicago as a member of the firm’s appellate litigation, information technology and intellectual property practice groups.

Nachbar’s research focuses on the nature of regulation: how the law is used (and by whom) to shape and control behavior. His early work addressed how the availability of new technologies alters conceptions of regulation. His current work is on the relationship between public and private regulation. Throughout, his work has retained a focus on the regulation of markets and networks. He has written extensively on the history of trade regulation, from mercantilist England through 20th-century America, with an emphasis on the constitutional dimensions of trade regulation. His work on network regulation ranges from study of common law, common-carriage obligations to regulation of the Internet. He has both practiced and published in the field of telecommunications law (he authored, with Glen Robinson, the casebook “Communications Regulation”), and is an expert on the Supreme Court’s constitutional equal protection and due process jurisprudence.

Nachbar also works in national security. He has written and taught on a wide variety of national security law topics, including the role of law in counterinsurgency, the law of detention and war crimes. He is a judge advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve, where he has, among other assignments, edited an Army handbook on the development of legal systems, trained Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and deployed to Iraq as a forward headquarters legal adviser. His current Reserve assignment is as associate dean of the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. He is a senior fellow with the University’s Miller Center of Public Affairs and is affiliated with the Law School’s National Security Law Center and the National Security Policy Center at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. 

Scholarship Profile: How Should We Understand, Develop, and Allocate Regulatory Authority (Virginia Journal 2016)

All Courses


Communications Law

Constitutional Law


Copyright II (Advanced Topics)

Economic Concepts in Law

Intellectual Property: Copyright

Irregular Warfare

Overview of Military Law

National Security Detention

National Security and Information

Regulation of New Media (seminar)

Seminar in Ethical Values

Featured Scholarship