Professor Kristen Eichensehr, a cybersecurity expert, has been named director of the National Security Law Center at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Eichensehr, who joined the Law School in 2020, is a Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law. She writes and teaches about cybersecurity, foreign relations and separation of powers issues.

The center helps support the academic contributions of faculty and serves as a hub for professors and working professionals to exchange ideas, as well as create increased opportunities for students interested in national security law.

“UVA Law is very strong not just on national security, but also in related areas like privacy, international law and criminal law,” Eichensehr said.

The center is hosting its 2021 Cybersecurity Speaker Series this month, featuring current and former U.S. government officials, in-house and outside counsel, and academic and civil society experts.

She said national security has traditionally been the purview of governments, but new challenges and technologies make it necessary to broaden one’s understanding of national security players.

“It’s not just governments and defense contractors, but also technology companies, social media companies, critical infrastructure entities and others,” she added. “Their involvement as targets of operations as well as providers and defenders of national security raises a host of difficult questions about how to understand their responsibilities to the public and how to make government-private sector relationships productive, while also protecting privacy.”

Her paper “The Youngstown Canon: Vetoed Bills and the Separation of Powers,” forthcoming in the Duke Law Journal, was cited by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in an October ruling that emergency military construction authority did not authorize 11 border wall projects on the Southern border.

She won the 2018 Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship for her article, “Courts, Congress, and the Conduct of Foreign Relations.”

Before her academic career, Eichensehr served as a special assistant at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser in the Obama administration. She also practiced at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in appellate litigation, international and national security law, and cybersecurity issues. 

Eichensehr is an affiliate at the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation, and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. She is also editor of the American Journal of International Law’s section on Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law, and a member of the editorial boards of Just Security and the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.

In her new role at the National Security Law Center, she succeeds Professor Ashley Deeks, who is on leave from the Law School to serve as White House associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

Media Contact