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Douglas Sylvester

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Research Professor
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 9520
Senior Global Futures Scientist
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 9520
Special Advisor to the Provost & Professor
Administrative, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 9520

Dean Douglas Sylvester is the 8th dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Under his leadership, ASU Law reached historic heights ranked 25th in the nation (up from 40th in 2012, and 58th in 2008), 9th among public law schools, and is the youngest law school in the top 25. From 2012-2020, the law school placed in the top 25 for employment (rising as high as #11 in 2014), hired nearly 60 faculty members, and raised $81 million — more than twice the amount raised in the prior 45 years combined.

Dean Sylvester was also a driving force for the conceptualization and creation of the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix, which is now home to ASU Law and a number of other legal-related organizations including the innovative ASU Law Group and the Arizona Legal Center.

Before becoming dean, he served as associate dean for faculty research and development, responsible for building an environment that fosters faculty scholarship, organizing speaker series, mentoring junior faculty, and seeking innovative ways to increase the faculty's visibility.

In 2007, Sylvester was appointed special consultant to a National Academy of Sciences panel charged with reforming the U.S. Census. He was the founding faculty director of the innovative Technology Ventures Clinic which introduces students to transactional legal practice in high-technology sectors. He also has been an expert witness in cases involving licensing, intellectual property and technology, and has advised numerous entrepreneurs in building their businesses.

Dean Sylvester has published, taught and lectured on issues of intellectual property law and commercialization, international law, emerging technologies and privacy. In 2006, he taught nanotechnology and the law, the first time such a course was offered in the country by full-time law faculty.

Prior to joining ASU, Sylvester was a Bigelow Fellow and lecturer-in-law at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, an attorney in the Global e-Commerce Practice Group at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, and a law clerk for U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Atkins in Florida.

  • LL.M. New York University Law School (1995, c. 1998)
  • J.D. University of Buffalo School of Law 1994 
  • B.A. University of Toronto 1991 

Douglas Sylvester, Kenneth Abbott, & Gary Marchant, Not Again! Public Perception, Regulation, and Nanotechnology, 3 Regulation & Governance 165 (2009).

Nicholas Schweitzer, Douglas Sylvester, and Michael J. Saks, Rule Violations and the Rule of Law: a Factorial Survey of Public Attitudes, 56 Depaul L. Rev. 615 (2007).
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Douglas Sylvester, Kenneth Abbott, & Gary Marchant, A Framework Convention for Nanotechnology?, 36 Envtl. L. Rep. 10931 (2006).
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Douglas Sylvester and Sharon Lohr, Counting on Confidentiality: Legal and Statistical Approaches to Federal Privacy Law After the USA PATRIOT Act, 2005 Wisc. L. Rev. 1033 (2005).
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Research Activity: 
Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
LAW 781Independent Study
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
LAW 781Independent Study
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
LAW 781Independent Study
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 494Special Topics
LAW 607Nanotechnology