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Kellen Richard Funk

Associate Professor of Law

Kellen Richard Funk

Associate Professor of Law

Kellen R. Funk is an associate professor of law. He joined the faculty in July 2018, after completing his Ph.D. in American history at Princeton University, where he was a Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow. His first book, currently in revision, is The Lawyers’ Code: The Transformation of American Legal Practice; it explores how New York’s enactment in 1848 of the first American civil practice code (aka the Field Code) granted significant power to lawyers in the management of litigation and codified rules of civil procedure that were adopted by other states and the federal courts.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 2014, Funk clerked for U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas and then for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has held legal history fellowships at Yale Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, and the American Society for Legal History.

Funk studies 19th-century American legal institutions, practice, and theory—the development of the legal profession, the reform of civil trial practice, the codification of the common law, and the intersection of American law and American Christianity. His work is methodologically innovative, combining historical research methods with data science; his co-authored article, “The Spine of American Law: Digital Methods and the U.S. Legal Practice,” was published in the American Historical Review in 2018. Funk’s current book project is American Bail: A History of Wealth and Pretrial Detention in the United States.

  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 2018
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2014
  • M.A., Bob Jones University, 2009
  • B.A., Bob Jones University, 2007
Areas of Expertise
  • Legal and constitutional history (American and comparative)
  • Civil institutions, practices, and procedures
  • Religious pluralism
  • Legal empiricism and digital methods
  • Legal ethics and professionalism
Honors and Awards
  • Harold Berman Award, Association of American Law Schools (2019)
  • Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow, Princeton University (2015–2016)
  • Kathryn T. Preyer Scholar, American Society for Legal History (2017)
Professional Experience
  • Clerk, Judge Stephen F. Williams, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2017–2018)
  • Clerk, Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (2016–2017)
American Legal History
Federal Courts
S. The American Bail System