Professor Kellen Funk smiling

Kellen Richard Funk

  • Michael E. Patterson Professor of Law

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2018
J.D., Yale Law School, 2014
B.A., Bob Jones University, 2007

Areas of Specialty

History of the Practice and Profession of Law
Pretrial Procedure and Bail Bonding
The Development of Federal Equity
Religious Freedom & Pluralism
Digital Text Analysis

Kellen R. Funk is a legal historian with expertise in civil procedure and remedies. He has written on the history of civil litigation practices in the United States, the development and reform of the American bail system, and the jurisprudence of churches and religious groups. 

Funk joined the Columbia Law faculty in 2018 after completing a Ph.D. in American history at Princeton University, where he was a Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow. His first book, Law’s Machinery, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024. It explores how the 1848 enactment of New York’s Field Code shaped the field of American civil procedure by merging law and equity, accelerating creditors’ remedies, and giving lawyers supremacy over the rules of litigation. 

Funk’s scholarship combines historical research methods with data science, including an original text analysis project mapping case law citations across all legal literature in the 19th-century United States. His co-authored study of the transmission of legal codes in Reconstruction America, published in the 2018 American Historical Review, has become a foundational work in the field of digital legal history. Other work has appeared in Constitutional Commentary, Law & Social Inquiry, and the California Law Review. Funk’s 2017 article in the Journal of Law and Religion, “Church Corporations and the Conflict of Laws in Antebellum America,” was awarded the Harold Berman Award from the American Association of Law Schools’ Law and Religion Section.


Honors and Awards

Harold Berman Award, Association of American Law Schools


Kathryn T. Preyer Scholar, American Society for Legal History


Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow, Princeton University


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)