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Erik Jensen

Erik Jensen

Faculty Affiliate
Stanford King Center on Global Development
Professor of the Practice of Law
Stanford Law School
Director of Rule of Law Program
Stanford Law School
LLM, London School of Economics
JD, William Mitchell College of Law
BA, Augustana College


Erik Jensen holds joint appointments at SLS and Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He is Professor of the Practice, Director of the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School, an Affiliated Core Faculty at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and Senior Advisor for Governance and Law at The Asia Foundation.

Jensen began his international career as a Fulbright Scholar. He has taught and practiced in the field of law and development for 30 years and has carried out fieldwork in 35 developing countries. He lived in Asia for 14 years. He has led or advised research teams on governance and the rule of law at the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank.

Among his numerous publications, Jensen co-edited with Thomas Heller Beyond Common Knowledge: Empirical Approaches to the Rule of Law (Stanford University Press: 2003). At Stanford he teaches courses related to state building, development and the rule of law. Jensen’s scholarship and fieldwork focuses on bridging theory and practice, and examines connections between law, economy, politics and society. In recent years he has committed considerable effort as faculty director to building out law degree-granting programs at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), where he also sits on the Board of Trustees, and at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani (AUIS). He is the faculty director of student-driven projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Cambodia, and he has directed projects in Bhutan and Timor Leste. With Paul Brest he is co-leading a research project launched in 2015 and funded by the Global Development and Poverty Fund at FSI on “The Rule of Non-Law” that examines the use of various work-arounds to the formal legal system by economic actors in developing countries; eight law faculty members are participating in the Rule of Non-Law Project.