James D. Nelson

Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance

Office: Jerome Greene Hall, Room 811-2
435 West 116th Street
New York N.Y. 10027
Tel: 212-854-2305
Email: james.nelson@law.columbia.edu
  • J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Virginia School of Law, 2009
  • B.A., with high distinction, University of Virginia, 2006


James Nelson’s research focuses on corporate and constitutional law. His current work examines the constitutional rights of corporations, especially rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion. He is also interested in issues of corporate form, including the boundary between for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and in federal preemption of state corporate law.

Nelson graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law Review and received the Roger and Madeleine Traynor Prize and the Robert E. Goldsten Award for distinction in the classroom. After graduating, he clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Nelson then served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, before joining Columbia Law School as an Associate in Law and Lecturer in 2012.


The Freedom of Business Association, 115 Columbia Law Review (forthcoming 2015)

Conscience, Incorporated, 2013 Michigan State Law Review 1565

Note, Incarceration, Accommodation, and Strict Scrutiny, 95 Virginia Law Review 2053 (2009)