John F. Coyle

Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Organizations Law
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Contracts
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Law
  • Entrepreneurship and the Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Organizations Law


John Coyle joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2010 and serves as the Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law. His teaching and research interests include contracts, corporate law, and conflict of laws. Coyle is the author of more than thirty articles on topics ranging from contract boilerplate to venture capital to private international law. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Duke Law Journal, the Iowa Law Review, and the Notre Dame Law Review, among others. He is an avid blogger and was one of the founding editors of Transnational Litigation Blog. The graduating class at Carolina Law has twice voted to award him the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence.

Coyle attended Yale Law School where he was a symposium editor on the Yale Law Journal, an articles editor on the Yale Journal of International Law, and the recipient of the William K.S. Wang Prize and the Jewell Prize. Prior to joining Carolina Law, Coyle clerked for Judge Reena Raggi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, practiced law in the corporate group at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC, and taught legal writing at Harvard Law School.


  • J.D., Yale University (2005)
  • M.Phil., European Studies, University of Cambridge (2001)
  • B.A., History and Literature, Harvard University (2000)

Selected Publications

The Mystery of the Missing Choice-of-Law Clause, 56 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 707 (2022).
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“Contractually Valid” Forum Selection Clauses, 108 IOWA L. REV. 127 (2022).
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Enforcing Inbound Forum Selection Clauses in State Court (with K. Richardson), 53 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 65 (2021) .
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Enforcing Outbound Forum Selection Clauses in State Court (with K. Richardson), 96 INDIANA L.J. 1089 (2021).
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Forum Selection Clauses, Non-Signatories, and Personal Jurisdiction (with R. Effron), 97 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 189 (2021).
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A Short History of the Choice-of-Law Clause, 91 U. COLO. L. REV. 1147 (2020).
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Interpreting Forum Selection Clauses, 104 IOWA L. REV. 1791 (2019).
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The Canons of Construction for Choice-of-Law Clauses, 92 WASH. L. REV. 631 (2017).
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Contractual Innovation in Venture Capital (with J. Green), 66 HASTINGS L. J. 133 (2014).
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Acqui-hiring (J. Coyle & G. Polsky), 63 DUKE L.J. 281 (2013).
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