Professor of Law Brian Slocum, PhD, is an award-winning scholar and teacher with recognized expertise in administrative law, contracts, evidence, statutory interpretation, and the application of linguistics to legal interpretation. Professor Slocum is the author of "Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation" (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and the editor of "Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy" (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and “Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law” (University of Chicago Press, 2019). His numerous and frequently cited articles have been published in top journals, including Michigan Law Review, Southern California Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Ratio Juris, Northwestern University Law Review, Statute Law Review (Oxford University Press), and Maryland Law Review.
Following his clerkship for Judge Frank Magill, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Professor Slocum joined the Department of Justice through its Honors Program. While at Justice, Professor Slocum argued more than a dozen appellate cases, wrote and reviewed criminal legislation, authored the Department's guidance on various criminal matters to federal prosecutors throughout the country, lectured to federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and wrote a speech for the Attorney General and congressional testimony for the Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
Professor Slocum joined the McGeorge School of Law faculty in 2008 where he quickly established himself as a top legal scholar. In 2012 and 2015, by vote of his peers, Professor Slocum was presented with the John G. Sprankling Award for Faculty Scholarship. In 2018, by vote of his peers, Professor Slocum was presented with the Francis J. Mootz III Award for Faculty Scholarship, Best Book. In 2013 and 2014, he won the Julie A. Davies Professor of the Year Award.
In addition to a law degree, Professor Slocum holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Linguistics. His papers can be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
BBA, Pacific Union College
JD, Harvard Law School
MA, Linguistics, University of California, Davis
PhD, Linguistics, University of California, Davis
Representative Scholarship and Activities
“The Meaning of Sex: Dynamic Words, Novel Applications, and Original Public Meaning,” Michigan Law Review (forthcoming, 2021) (with William N. Eskridge Jr. & Stefan Th. Gries)
“The Vienna Convention and the Ordinary Meaning of International Law,” 46 Yale Journal of International Law (forthcoming, 2021) (with Jarrod Wong)
“Reforming the Canon of Constitutional Avoidance,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming, 2021)
“Judging Corpus Linguistics,” 94 Southern California Law Review Postscript 13 (2020) (with Stefan Th. Gries)
“‘Avoiding’ Judicial Activism: The Supreme Court’s Unconvincing Efforts to Restrict the Scope of the Avoidance Canon,” New York University Law Review Online (2019).
Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law, University of Chicago Press (Brian G. Slocum & Francis J. Mootz III, eds., 2019).
“Replacing the Flawed Chevron Standard,” 60 William & Mary Law Review, 195-266 (2018).
“Ordinary Meaning and Corpus Linguistics,” Brigham Young University Law Review, 101-49 (2017) (symposium issue)
Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy, University of Chicago Press (Brian G. Slocum ed., 2017).
"Conversational Implicatures and Legal Texts," Ratio Juris (March 2016).
Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation, University of Chicago Press (2015).