Donald Kochan is Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he also serves as the Executive Director of the Law & Economics Center.
Professor Kochan began his academic career as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at George Mason in 2002-2003, after which he was an Olin Fellow at the University of Virginia School of Law for the 2003-2004 academic year. He returned to Scalia Law after having been the Parker S. Kennedy Professor in Law at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, where he taught for the previous sixteen years. While at Chapman, Professor Kochan received the 2014 Valerie Scudder Award, a merit-based award selected by peers in recognition of outstanding achievement in scholarship, teaching, and service, and one of the highest honors given to a faculty member at the University. He was also Chapman Law’s inaugural Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development from 2014-2019.
Professor Kochan’s scholarship focuses on areas of property law, constitutional law, administrative law, tort law, natural resources and environmental law, and law & economics, among others. His forthcoming book, Framing the Constitution: The Impact of Labels on Constitutional Interpretation, is slated for publication by Cambridge University Press. His scholarship has been cited in dozens of books (including many leading law textbooks) and in hundreds of published law review articles, and his articles have been downloaded more than 16,000 times from SSRN and BePress’s Selected Works. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles and essays in well-respected law journals. Professor Kochan is also the co-author (with the late Calvin Massey) of the Eighth and Ninth Editions of Emanuel Law Outlines: Property – Keyed to Dukeminier, Krier, Alexander, Schill & Strahilevitz.
Professor Kochan is an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI); and, he was appointed by ALI in July 2016 to serve as an Adviser to the Restatement of the Law Fourth, Property project. Professor Kochan is a Nonresident Scholar at the Center for the Constitution at Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Visiting Scholar in residence during Fall 2018. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Legal Education. He has also been a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (ABF) since his election to ABF in 2014.
Among his other numerous activities, Professor Kochan serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Environment & Natural Resources Regulation for the ABA Section on Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice; serves as a member of the ABA Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress; and serves as an inaugural co-editor and founder of the Property Section of JOTWELL. Other recent activities have included serving as the Chair of the Real Property Legal Education Committee and Co-Chair of Trusts & Estates Legal Education Committee for the ABA Real Property Trusts & Estates Section (RPTE); serving from 2015-2018 as a Contributing Editor of the “Keeping Current-Property” section in Probate & Property, the bi-monthly magazine of the ABA’s RPTE Section; serving as the 2019 Chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Real Estate Transactions; serving as the 2017 Chair for the Section on Property Law for the AALS; serving as the 2016-2017 Chair of the Planning and Nominations Committee for the AALS Section on Associate Deans for Academic Affairs & Research; serving as a member of the ABA’s RPTE Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and serving in 2017-2018 as an ABA Section Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) Study Committee on Adverse Possession.
Professor Kochan has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and before a special federal lands committee of the State of Idaho Legislature. He has presented his work at national legal conferences and at law schools domestic and foreign. He has appeared on national and local radio and cable news broadcasts. Further, in addition to his scholarly publications, Professor Kochan has published opinion editorials in leading newspapers across the country, including in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, the Boston Globe, the Detroit News, The Hill, RealClearPolitics, and the Legal Times, among others.
Beyond mentions in articles and books, Professor Kochan’s scholarship has received other notable attention, including being cited in multiple state and federal court opinions; cited and quoted at length in dozens of amicus briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal and state courts; cited in testimony at the confirmation hearings of now-Justice Elena Kagan in 2010; and the direct subject of a question posed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2011 State Department budget hearings; to name a few. One of his articles was selected as the June 2011 Article of the Month by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL).
Stories in various news outlets have featured quotations to his research or expertise, including in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Investors Business Daily, Fortune, CBS News, ABC News, and regional and local newspapers and other sources across the country, including the Orange County Register, the Colorado Springs Gazette, High Country News, and the Idaho Statesman, among others.
Professor Kochan’s work has been featured or discussed on numerous legal blogs. Among the noteworthy blog commentary received, one of Professor Kochan’s scholarly articles was described as “fascinating and very useful” by a federal judge who proceeded to “urge federal civil practitioners and members of the Academy who are interested in federal civil procedure to read Professor Kochan’s especially thoughtful and incredibly detailed analysis. . . . Professor Kochan’s article proves, once again, that dedicated law professors can really help judges and practitioners when they put their minds to it.”
Professor Kochan received his Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics and managing editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. During law school, he also served as editor and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy symposium issues in 1997 and 1998. He received his B.A. from Western Michigan University, magna cum laude, with majors in both political science and philosophy and where he studied as the John W. Gill Medallion Scholar and was honored as the Presidential Scholar (awarded to the top graduate in the political science department).
After graduating from law school, Professor Kochan was a law clerk to The Honorable Richard F. Suhrheinrich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Following his clerkship, Professor Kochan was an associate with the firm of Crowell & Moring LLP in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in natural resources & environmental law.
Between George Mason and Chapman, courses taught have included institutions of American law, state constitutional law, civil procedure, property law, administrative law, environmental and natural resources law, real estate transactions, commercial leasing, law and economics, legal and equitable remedies, federal courts, and business organizations law.