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Joanna M. Shepherd

Thomas Simmons Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

Analytical Methods, Law and Economics, Judicial Behavior, Torts, Health Policy


Analytical Methods for Lawyers, Law and Economics, Judicial Behavior, Torts


Joanna Shepherd is the Thomas Simmons Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. She served as Vice Dean from 2020 - 2023 and again beginning in the summer of 2024. She teaches Torts, Analytical Methods for Lawyers, Law and Economics, and Judicial Behavior. Before joining Emory, Shepherd was an assistant professor of Economics at Clemson University and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition to her position at the law school, she currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Emory Department of Economics.

Shepherd is a nationally-recognized expert on judicial behavior, judicial elections, tort reform, and empirical legal studies. She is the co-author, with Michael Kang, of a recent book on judicial elections: Free to Judge: The Power of Campaign Money in Judicial Elections (Stanford 2023). She has also published broadly in law reviews, legal journals and economics journals. Recent publications have appeared in the Stanford Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Southern California Law Review, New York University Law Review, Duke Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, The Journal of Legal Studies, and The Journal of Law & Economics. In addition to her recent book and several dozen articles, she is the author of two textbooks: The Economic Analysis of Law and The Economics of Industrial Organization.

Shepherd’s research has been cited by numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Glossip v. Gross (2015) and Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar (2015). In addition, she has testified about her empirical work before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, before the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Sciences, and before several state legislative committees. Her research has also been featured in articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Forbes, and she has been interviewed for TV, radio, and podcasts on NPR, CNN, BBC, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and many others. She also frequently teaches economics courses to law professors and federal and state judges.

Education: PhD, Emory University (Law and Economics and Econometrics), 2002; BBA, Baylor University, 1997