John M. Conley

William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

  • Art Law
  • Biotechnology and the Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Copyright Law
  • Corporate Board Diversity
  • Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law
  • European Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Law
  • Jurisdiction
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Legal Profession
  • Patent Law
  • Privacy Law
  • Science and Technology Law
  • Trademark Law


John M. Conley joined the law faculty in 1983 and is William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Law. His teaching and research interests include civil procedure, intellectual property, biotechnology and the law, social science and the law, and professional responsibility. He has written numerous books, articles, and chapters on law and language, professional and institutional culture, corporate behavior, the law of intellectual property as applied to emerging technologies, and scientific evidence. His current research involves the ethnographic study of the practice of genomic medicine. Since 1990, he has co-edited the Law and Society Book Series for the University of Chicago Press, which has also published several of his books. Most recently (2019), Chicago has published the third edition of his law and language book Just Words: Law, Language, and Power. His articles have appeared in Science, Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Harvard Business Review, and a variety of other legal, scientific, and interdisciplinary journals. He is also the editor and principal author of the blog The Privacy Report, which deals with issues in privacy, intellectual property, and health law.

Conley attended Duke Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Duke Law Journal and a member of the Order of the Coif. He also received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Duke. Before joining the law faculty, he practiced civil litigation for six years at Gaston Snow & Ely Bartlett in Boston and Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in Charlotte.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Duke University (1980)
  • J.D. (Order of the Coif), Duke University (1977)
  • B.A., Harvard University (1971)

Selected Publications

The Public-Private Research Ecosystem in the Genome Editing Era (with A. Davis et. al.), 27 ISCIENCE 6 (2024).
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The Promise and Reality of Public Engagement in the Governance of Human Genome Editing Research (with G. Henderson et al.),  AM. J. BIOETHICS, July 2023 at 9.
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What Happened to Concerns about Human Enhancement? (with J. Cadigan et al.), HASTINGS CENTER BIOETHICS FORUM (Apr. 25, 2023).
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Diversity from the Perspective of Corporate Boards and Lawyer Disciplinary Boards (Lissa Broome, John Conley), 15 ST. LOUIS U.  J. HEALTH L. & POL'Y 121 (2021) (Symposium - Disciplining Physicians Who Inflict Harm: New Legal Resources for State Medical Board Members).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

The View from the Benches: Scientists’ Perspectives on the Uses and Governance of Human Gene Editing Research (with M. Waltz et al.), 4 CRISPR J. 609 (2021).
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INTEGRATED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (with D. Barnes), (West Acad. Publishing, 2nd ed. 2021).
KF2978 .B37 2021

SCIENTIFIC AND EXPERT EVIDENCE (with J. Moriarty) (Wolters Kluwer, 3rd ed., 2021).
KF8961.C665 2021

A New Governance Approach to Regulating Human Genome Editing (with J. Cadigan et al.), 22 N.C. J. L. TECH. 107 (2020).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress | Document Link

International Health Data: How HIPAA Interacts with the EU GDPR (with K. Koeninger), AHLA CONNECTIONS, January 2020 at 40.
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Is Real-Time ELSI Realistic? (with J. Cadigan, A. Davis, A. Prince, and G. Lazaro-Munoz), 11 AMER. J. BIOETHICS EMPIRICAL 134 (2020).
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