Anne Joseph O’Connell


Anne Joseph O’Connell is the George Johnson Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a below-the-line appointment in the Political Science Department. Outside of the University, she is a Contributor to the Center on Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution, an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and a Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improving regulatory procedures. O’Connell has written on a number of topics, including agency and judicial nominations, political appointees, bureaucratic organization (and reorganization), political changes in agency rulemaking, quasi-agencies, and congressional oversight of agencies. Her publications have appeared in leading law and political science journals. In addition, she has written empirical reports for the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress and co-edited a book (with Daniel A. Farber), Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law. She has joined the Gellhorn and Byse’s Administrative Law: Cases and Comments casebook as an editor for the twelfth edition (January 2018).

O’Connell’s research has received a number of awards. She is a two-time winner of the American Bar Association’s Scholarship Award in Administrative Law for the best article or book published in the preceding year — for her 2014 article “Bureaucracy at the Boundary” and her 2009 article “Vacant Offices: Delays in Staffing Top Agency Positions.” The only other multiple winners since the Award began in 1986 are Jerry Mashaw, Thomas Merrill, and Cass Sunstein. Her co-authored article (with Farber), “The Lost World of Administrative Law,” won the 2014 Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law from the American Constitution Society. Her article, “Political Cycles of Rulemaking,” won the Association of American Law Schools’ 2007-2008 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. In addition, her research has been cited by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the D.C. Circuit, and has been featured prominently in the Washington Post.

Before joining the Berkeley Law faculty in 2004, O’Connell clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court during the October 2003 term. From 2001 to 2003, she was a trial attorney for the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. She clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2000 to 2001. O’Connell is a member of the New York bar. At Berkeley, she teaches Administrative Law, Advanced Administrative Law, Civil Procedure, E-Discovery, and the Public Law and Policy Workshop. She has also taught a graduate seminar, “Politics, Economics, and Law of Administrative Agencies,” in UC Berkeley’s Department of Political Science. O’Connell received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award (the campus’s most prestigious honor for teaching) in 2016 and Berkeley Law’s Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction in 2012. In 2013-2014, she served as Co-President of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies (co-organizing the 2014 Conference on Empirical Legal Studies). From April 2013 to July 2015, O’Connell served as Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research, under three different Deans.


J.D., Yale Law School
B.A., Williams College
Ph.D., Harvard University
M. Phil., Cambridge University