Tom W. Bell

Member of: FEE Faculty Network

Professor Tom W. Bell earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1993, where he served on the Law Review. He practiced law first at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the largest law firm in Silicon Valley, and then at the Washington, DC office of Harkins Cunningham LLP, where he had the distinct pleasure of helping to shut down the Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1998, following a stint as Director of Telecommunications and Technology Studies at the Cato Institute, Bell joined the faculty of Chapman University School of Law.


Bell coined the term “polycentric law” and has cultivated the field both as an academic and as a consultant to companies building legal systems for new cities. Though best known in academia for his work on high-tech and intellectual property law—winter 2014 will see publication of his book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good—Bell has taught a wide range of classes, including Contracts, Property, Torts, Corporations, Business Associations, and Law and Economics. He frequently writes for The Freeman on issues related to startup cities.

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