Emily Kadens

Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law
Vice Dean


Professor Kadens is an award-winning legal historian with a particular focus on the medieval and early modern history of commercial law and practice. She has a JD from the University of Chicago and a PhD in medieval history from Princeton. An expert on English equity court archives, she is currently using previously unexamined equity court files to write a ground-breaking book on the history of commercial cheating in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England. She has also written extensively on how custom does—or does not—function as law, the concept of the law merchant, and the early history of English bankruptcy. Another current project involves working with a neural net platform developed in Europe to build an AI model that can automatically transcribe 16th- and early 17th-century English secretary hand with a high degree of accuracy. The goal is to make transcriptions of equity court material available in a searchable online repository.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Contracts/Torts
  • English and European Legal History

Selected Publications

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  • JD, University of Chicago
  • PhD, Princeton University
  • MA, Princeton University
  • Diplôme, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • MA, University of Chicago
  • BA, University of Chicago

Prior Appointments

  • Associate Dean of Innovation and Partnerships, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Cornell University
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University
  • Baker and Botts Professor in Law, University of Texas
  • Assistant Professor of Law, University of Texas

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