Peter L. Strauss

Peter L. Strauss is the Betts Professor of Law Emeritus at Columbia Law School.  He joined the faculty in 1971, twice served as vice dean, and became emeritus July 1, 2017.  He has long been teaching courses in administrative law, legal methods, and legislation; as emeritus, he has been teaching legal methods I and the required elective on Legislation and Regulation, and in the spring of 2020 created and taught the new course in Advanced Administrative Law.

He received his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1964 and his A.B. from Harvard College in 1961. Before joining the Law School, he clerked for David L. Bazelon and William J. Brennan in Washington, D.C.; spent two years lecturing on criminal law in the national university of Ethiopia; and three years as an attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General, briefing and arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. During 1975 to 1977, Strauss was on leave from Columbia as the first general counsel of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In 1987, the American Bar Association's section of administrative law and regulatory practice presented Strauss with its third annual award for distinguished scholarship in administrative law. From 1992 to 1993, he served as chair of the section. He has been a reporter for rulemaking on its APA and European Union administrative law projects, and was a member of its E-Rulemaking task force. In 2008, the American Constitution Society awarded him the first Richard Cudahy prize for his essay “Overseer or 'The Decider'? The President in Administrative Law.”

Noted for writings introducing foreign lawyers to American public law, Strauss has been a visitor on the law faculties of Addis Ababa University, the University of Buenos Aires, European University Institute, Harvard University, Hong Kong University, La Sapienza (Rome), Ludwig Maximillians University (Munich), the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law, McGill University, New York University, the Sorbonne (Paris) and Tokyo University, and has lectured widely on American administrative law abroad, including programs in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Turkey, and Venezuela. During 2008 to 2009, he was Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European Law Institute and Parsons Fellow at the University of Sydney Law School.

A life member of the American Law Institute, in 2010 Strauss was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has also long been a faculty member on the board of the Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation.


  • LL.B., Yale Law School, 1964
  • A.B., Harvard College, 1961

Areas of Expertise

  • Administrative law
  • Legal methods
  • Legislation
  • The regulatory and administrative state

Activities and Affiliations

  • Chair, 1992–1993; Co-Reporter on Rulemaking for project on American administrative law, 2000–2001; Co-Reporter on Rulemaking in the European Union, 2004–present, American Bar Association's section of administrative law and regulatory practice
  • American Law Institute
  • Editor, Social Sciences Research Network Administrative Law Abstracts
  • Board Member, Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction
  • Members consultative group, Ethics project, American Law Institute
  • Public Member or Senior Conference Fellow, Administrative Conference of the United States (from 1982)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Lexis Electronic Authors Press
  • Consultations with Chinese Office of Legislative Affairs and Chinese legal scholars, in China and the United States on draft Chinese laws concerning aspects of administrative procedure, under auspices of the Asia Foundation and of the Yale Center on Chinese Law, concerning proposed Chinese Law on Licensing, 2000–present

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2010
  • Richard D. Cudahy Prize for scholarship on Regulatory and Administrative Law, American Constitution Society, 2008
  • Scholar in Residence, Rockefeller Conference Center, Bellagio Italy, 1994 and 2005
  • Third annual award for distinguished scholar­ship in admin­is­tra­tive law, ABA sec­tion of admin­istra­tive law and regu­lato­ry prac­tice, ­­1987
  • Distinguished Service Award, US NRC, 1977
  • John Marshall Award for excellence in Appel­late Advoca­cy, U.S. Department of Justice, 1970


  • Gellhorn and Byse's Administrative Law, Cases and Comments, Foundation Press, (with Teachers’ Manuals, and occasional Supplements), 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th editions, 1979, 1986, 1995, 2003, 2011
  • Administrative Justice in the United States, Carolina Academic Press, 1989, 2002, 2016
  • Legal Methods: Understanding and Using Cases and Statutes, Foundation Press, 2005, 2008, 2014
  • The Law of the Kings, An English translation, (Strauss, ed., A. Paulos trans., Fetha Negast), Addis Ababa, Haile Selassie I University Press, 1968, republished with additional materials, Carolina Academic Press 2008
  • “Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe – of Politics and Law, Young Lawyers and the Highway Goliath in Administrative Law Stories,” (Strauss ed.), 2006
  • “Private Standards Organizations and Public Law,” 22 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 497, 2013
  • “‘Deference’ is too Confusing – Let’s Call Them ‘Chevron Space’ and ‘Skidmore Weight,’” 112 Columbia Law Review 1143, 2012
  • “Overseer or ‘The Decider’ – The President in Administrative Law,” 75 George Washington Law Review 695, 2007, (Richard D. Cudahy Prize Essay, 2008)
  • “Rulemaking in the Ages of Globalization and Information: What America Can Learn From Europe, and Vice Versa,” 12 Columbia Journal of European Law 645, 2006
  • “Courts or Tribunals? Federal Courts and the Common Law,” 53 Alabama Law Review 891, 2002
  • “The Rulemaking Continuum,” 41 Duke Law Journal, 1463, 1992
  • “When The Judge is not the Primary Official With Responsibility to Read: Agency Interpretation and the Problem of Legislative History,” 66 Chicago-Kent Law Review 321, 1992
  • “One Hundred Fifty Cases Per Year: Some Implications of the Supreme Court's Limited Resources for Judicial Review of Agency Action,” 87 Columbia Law Review 1093, 1987
  • “The Place of Agencies in Government: Separation of Powers and the Fourth Branch,” 84 Columbia Law Review 573 1984, (ABA Administrative Law Section award, 1985)
  • “Review, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child,” (with J. Strauss), 74 Columbia Law Review 996, 1974

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Last Updated May 5, 2020