William Simon

William H. Simon

  • Arthur Levitt Professor of Law Emeritus

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1974
A.B., Princeton University, 1969

Areas of Specialty

Professional responsibility
Social policy

William H. Simon is the Arthur Levitt Professor of Law Emeritus at Columbia Law School. His interests include professional responsibility, constitutional law, and regulatory and social policy.

Simon was a visiting professor at the Law School from 2001 to 2002, and became a full-time professor in 2003. Simon has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. From 1981 to 2003, Simon was on the faculty of Stanford Law School, and he is the emeritus holder of the Gertrude and William Saunders Chair there.

Before his time at Stanford, Simon practiced welfare and poverty law at the Legal Services Center in Boston, Mass. Simon has continued to consult and write about issues lawyering for poor people. In addition, Simon has consulted with many private firms and public interest organizations on legal ethics.

From 1974 to 1979, Simon was an associate at Foley, Hoag & Eloit in Boston. He has served as a visiting staff member at the National Center for Economic Development and Law, a director of the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, and a founding director of Bridge Bank of Silicon Valley. In 1994, he served as a Guggenheim fellow. He is a member of the Massachusetts bar.


  • “The Duty of Responsible Administration and the Problem of Police Accountability,” (with Charles Sabel), 33 Yale Journal on Regulation 165, 2016
  • “Duties to Organizational Clients,” in Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, 2016
  • “The Organizational Premises of Administrative Law,” in Law & Contemporary Problems, 2015
  • “In Defense of the Panopticon,” Boston Review, 2014
  • “The Practice of Justice: A Theory of Lawyers' Ethics,” Harvard University Press, 1998
  • “Destabilization Rights: How Public Law Litigation Succeeds,” (with Charles Sabel), Harvard Law Review, 2004
  • “The Community Economic Development Movement: Law, Business, and Social Policy,” Duke University Press, 2002