My research traces the relationship between lawyers and economic development. By looking beyond judicial opinions, my work provides a novel portrait of the legal profession from the early Republic to the Civil War. Studying lawyers’ work drafting agreements, performing due diligence, securing notes, and giving advice—important professional activities often downplayed by other scholars—reveals the central role that the legal profession has played and continues to play in shaping American commerce. 

I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Willamette University College of Law. There I am teaching Secured Transactions, Contracts, and Sales. I'm also working on research that links the law of slavery to contemporary American law and am preparing a book manuscript based on my dissertation, Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Development of American Commerce, 1780-1870


Justin Simard

Willamette University College of Law


(215) 575-0779