Adriaan Lanni

Adriaan Lanni

Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Classics

Competition: US & Canada

Adriaan Lanni is currently the Touroff-Glueck Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Her research focuses on law and society in classical Athens using methods—particularly legal theory and sociology—that draw as much on her training as a lawyer and law professor as on her background in ancient history. Although the bulk of Lanni’s work aims to elucidate the fundamental nature of the Athenian democracy, some of her writing explicitly compares ancient and modern legal doctrines or institutions to provide a source of constructive imagination for modern policymakers. Both Lanni’s research in ancient law and her teaching at Harvard Law School are motivated by a desire to explore what truly “popular” justice might look like, what its limits are, and how far our own system has moved from any genuinely democratic method of adjudication.

Before joining Harvard Law School in 2005, Lanni was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Dana Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court. She received a B.A., summa cum laude, in Classical Civilization from Yale University, an M.Phil. in Classics from Cambridge University, where she was a Marshall Scholar, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan.

Lanni’s publications include Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens (CUP 2006), Law and Order in Ancient Athens (CUP 2016), and articles on ancient law and the modern criminal jury. During her Guggenheim Fellowship term she will complete a book entitled Crime and Justice in Democratic Athens.

She recently delivered a talk entitled “Why Study Athenian Law: Adventures in Institutional Design” that discusses what modern lawyers and democratic citizens can learn from ancient Athens.

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