Laura A. Dickinson joined GW Law in 2011 as the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law. Her work focuses on national security, human rights, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. Professor Dickinson’s book, Outsourcing War and Peace, published by Yale University Press in 2011, examines the increasing privatization of military, security, and foreign aid functions of government, considers the impact of this trend on core public values, and outlines mechanisms for protecting these values in an era of privatization.
In addition to her scholarly activities, Professor Dickinson has a distinguished record of government service. She served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense and was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service for her work there. She has also served as a senior policy adviser to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Stephen G. Breyer, and to Judge Dorothy Nelson of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to her position at GW, Professor Dickinson was, from 2008-11, the Foundation Professor of Law and the faculty director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU). She has also been on the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she taught from 2001 to 2008, and she was a Visiting Research Scholar and Visiting Professor in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University in 2006-2007.
Professor Dickinson has served as a Future of War Fellow with the New America Foundation's International Security Program and Co-chair of the International Law and Technology Section of the American Society of international Law. She has also served as a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and co-organizer of a Collaborative Research Network on Empirical Approaches to International Human Rights Law, convened under the auspices of the Law & Society Association.