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Novak, William J.

Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law

971A Legal Research
Bill Novak, the Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law, is an award-winning legal scholar and historian. He joined the Law School faculty in fall 2009 from the University of Chicago, where he had been an associate professor of history, a founding member of the university's Human Rights Program and Law, Letters, and Society Program, and director of its Center for Comparative Legal History. Since 2000, Prof. Novak has been a research professor at the American Bar Foundation. In 1996, he published The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (The University of North Carolina Press), which won the American Historical Association's Littleton-Griswold Prize and was named Best Book in the History of Law and Society. A specialist on the legal, political, and intellectual history of the United States, Prof. Novak earned his PhD in the history of American civilization from Brandeis University in 1991. He was a visiting faculty member at Michigan Law during fall 2007, when he taught courses in U.S. legal history and legislation. Prof. Novak is currently at work on The People's Government: Law and the Creation of the Modern American State, a study of the transformation in American liberal governance around the turn of the 20th century.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

​"The Public Utility Idea and the Origins of Modern Business Regulation." In The Corporation and American Democracy. Forthcoming, 2015.​

​"The Continental Idea of the State." In State and Administration, edited by A. von Bogdandy, P. Huber, and S. Cassese. Max Planck Handbooks of Public Law in Europe, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming, 2015.​​

​"The Concept of the State in American History." In Boundaries of the State in U.S. History, edited by J. T. Sparrow, W. J. Novak, and S. Sawyer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Forthcoming, 2015.​​

​"Beyond Weber: The Need for a Theory of the Democratic State." Tocqueville Rev. (Forthcoming, 2015).​

Co-author. "Emancipation and the Creation of Modern Liberal States in America and France." S. Sawyer, co-author. J. Civ. War Era 3, no. 4 (2013): 467-500.
Full Text: Project Muse (UMich Users) | Project Muse

"A Revisionist History of Regulatory Capture." In Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit it, edited by D. Moss and D. Carpenter, 25-48. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013.
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co-author. "Toward a History of the Democratic State." S. Sawyer and J. T. Sparrow, co-authors. Tocqueville Rev. 33, no. 2 (2012): 7-18.
Full Text: Project Muse (UMich users) | Project Muse

"Making the Modern American Legislative State." In Living Legislation: Durability, Change, and the Politics of American Lawmaking, edited by J. Jenkins and E. Patashnik, 20-43. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
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