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Oliver R. Goodenough

Professor of Law

JD, University of Pennsylvania, 1978;
BA, Harvard University, 1975

Phone: (802) 831-1231


Professor Goodenough's research and writing at the intersection of law, economics, finance, media, technology, neuroscience and behavioral biology make him an authority in several emerging areas of law. He is expert in the impact of digital technology on law, with a particular emphasis on using the internet to create digital business organizations and to improve the support provided by law for innovation and entrepreneurship generally. A pioneer in Neurolaw, he has participated in experiments using fMRI brain scanning techniques to explore the neurological basis of moral reasoning in conjunction with Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of London.

His academic appointments reflect the breadth of his studies. At Vermont Law School, he is a Professor of Law and the Director of Scholarship. He is also currently a Faculty Fellow at The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he is co-director of the Law Lab project, a Research Fellow of the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, and an Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. He has also been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge, a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Visiting Professor at the Neurological Department of the Charite Medical School of Humboldt University in Berlin. He has participated as faculty for The National Judicial College since 2004. Prof. Goodenough has also served as co-director of the Education and Outreach Program of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project.

Prof. Goodenough has written on a wide variety of subjects relating law, business, the internet, and cognitive and behavioral science. His chapter "Digital Firm Formation" in the Kauffman Foundation book Rules for Growth (2011) has sparked reforms in corporate law. Law, Mind and Brain, co-edited with Michael Freeman, was published by Ashgate in February, 2009. With Semir Zeki, he edited the 2004 special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society devoted to Law and the Brain, reprinted in book form under that title by Oxford University Press in 2006. He is co-author of This Business of Television, now in its third edition. His shorter works include articles and chapters on law and neuroscience, intellectual property, the transmission of culture, and, with Richard Dawkins, a report in Nature on chain letters as evolving 'mind viruses'.

Professor Goodenough received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, he practiced law in New York, first as an associate with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and then with Kay, Collyer & Boose, where he was became a partner. In 2000 he won the Lee Loevinger Jurimetrics Research Award for his work on law and neuroscience, in 2002 the Gruter Institute Bene Merenti Award for outstanding achievements in law and behavioral research, and in 2010 the Vermont Law School Richard Brooks Faculty Scholarship Prize for scholarly achievement.