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Oliver Goodenough, Vermont Law School

Oliver R. Goodenough

Research Professor
Water and Justice Program
Center for Legal Innovation

JD, University of Pennsylvania, 1978

BA, Harvard University, 1975


Curriculum Vitae

Oliver R. Goodenough


Professor Goodenough's research and writing at the intersection of law, economics, finance, media, technology, neuroscience and behavioral biology make him an authority in several emerging areas of law. He is expert in the impact of digital technology on law, with a particular emphasis on using the computational approaches to create computable contracts and digital business organizations and to improve the support provided by law for innovation and entrepreneurship generally.

His academic appointments reflect the breadth of his studies. At Vermont Law School, he is a Professor of Law. He is also currently affiliated faculty at Stanford’s CodeX Center for Legal Informatice, a Research Fellow of the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, and an Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. He has also been a Faculty Fellow at The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he was co-director of the Law Lab project, an IPA Researcher and Visiting Fellow at the US Office of Financial Research, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge, a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Visiting Professor at the Neurological Department of the Charite Medical School of Humboldt University in Berlin. Professor Goodenough has also served as co-director of the Education and Outreach Program of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project.

Professor Goodenough has written on a wide variety of subjects relating law, business, the internet, and cognitive and behavioral science. His chapter "Digital Firm Formation" in the Kauffman Foundation book Rules for Growth (2011) has sparked reforms in corporate law. Law, Mind and Brain, co-edited with Michael Freeman, was published by Ashgate in February 2009. With Semir Zeki, he edited the 2004 special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society devoted to Law and the Brain, reprinted in book form under that title by Oxford University Press in 2006. He is the co-author of This Business of Television, now in its third edition. His shorter works include articles and chapters on law and neuroscience, intellectual property, the transmission of culture, and, with Richard Dawkins, a report in Nature on chain letters as evolving 'mind viruses'.

Professor Goodenough received his BA from Harvard University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, he practiced law in New York, first as an associate with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and then with Kay, Collyer & Boose, where he became a partner. In 2000 he won the Lee Loevinger Jurimetrics Research Award for his work on law and neuroscience, in 2002 the Gruter Institute Bene Merenti Award for outstanding achievements in law and behavioral research, and in 2010 the Vermont Law School Richard Brooks Faculty Scholarship Prize for scholarly achievement.




Information Replication in Culture: Three Modes for the Transmission of Culture Elements Through Observed Action, Proceedings of the AISB'99 Symposium on Imitation in Animals and Artifacts (Sussex, The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behavior, 1999).​


Through Legal Reform, The Kauffman Task Force on Law, Innovation, and Growth (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2011), pp 367-380.​
Neuroscience Basics for Lawyers, with Micaela Tucker, Mercer Law Review, Vol. 62: 945-958 (2011).​
Brain Sciences in the Courtroom, a symposium report, Mercer Law Review, Vol. 62: 769-836 ( 2011).
Un modello neuroscientifico del giudizio normativo nel diritto e nella giustizia, (with Kristin Prehn) tit. orig.: A neuroscientific approach to normative judgment in law and justice, in: Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., B359, 2004, pp.1709-1726.​
Culture and Audiovisual Programming: Too Important for Excessive Protection, ​Medialex, Vol. 2, No. 3, P. 81-82 (2003).
The Future of Intellectual Property: Broadening the Sense of "Ought", 24 Eur. Intell. Prop. Rev. 291 (2002).​
Cortical regions associated with the sense of justice and with legal rules, Schultz, J., Goodenough, O.R., Frackowiak, R. & Frith, C.D., NeuroImage, Vol. 13, P. S 473 (2001).
Mapping Cortical Areas Associated with Legal Reasoning and Moral Intuition, 41 Jurimetrics J. Vol. 41, P. 429-442 (2001).​
Defending the Imaginary to the Death?, Free Trade, National Identity, and Canada's Cultural Preoccupation, Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, P.203 (1998).​
Biology, Behavior, and Criminal Law: Seeking a Responsible Approach to an Inevitable Interchange, Vermont Law Review, Vol.22, No. 2, P. 263 (1997).
​Retheorizing Privacy and Publicity, 1 Intell. Prop. Q. 37 (1997).​
Replication and the Evolution of Culture, Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 37, No. 1, P. 10 (1996).​
Go Fish: Evaluating the Restatement's Formulation of the Law of Publicity, South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 4, P.709 (1996).​
Mind Viruses: Culture, Evolution and the Puzzle of Altruism, Social Science Information, Vol. 34, No. 2, P. 287 (1995).​
Pointillism, Copyright and the Droit d'Auteur: Time to See a Bigger Picture, Entertainment Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, P. 35 (1994).​
A Right of Privacy in the United Kingdom: Why not the Courts? European Intellectual Property Review, Vol. 15, No. 7, P.227 (1993).​
Television via Telephone Lines: Regulation and the Fibre Optic Revolution in the United States, Entertainment Law Review, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1992)​.​
The Price of Fame: The Development of the U.S. Right of Publicity, European Intellectual Property Review, Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, P. 55 & 90 (1992).
Avoiding Legal Trouble in Preparing Docudramas, New York Law Journal, November 24, 1989.
Colorization, Gannet Center Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3, P. 109 (1989).


​Law, Mind and Brain, Michael Freeman and Oliver R. Goodenough, eds. (London, Ashgate, 2009), includes co-authored chapter Why Do Good People Steal Intellectual Property? (with Gregory Decker).​
​Law and the Brain, with Semir Zeki (eds.), and co-author of 3 chapters (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006).​
This Business of Television, 3rd Ed., with Howard Blumenthal (Billboard Books, New York, 2006).
Elements through Observed Action, in K. Dautenhahn and C. L. Nehaniv, (Eds.), Imitation in Animals and Artifacts (MIT Press, 2002).​
This Business of Television, 2nd ed., with Howard Blumenthal (New York, Billboard Books, 1998).
​Privacy and Publicity: Society, Doctrine, and the Development of Law (London, The Intellectual Property Institute, 1996).​
This Business of Television, with Howard Blumenthal (New York, Billboard Books, 1991).


Digital Firm Formation, in RULES FOR GROWTH, PROMOTING INNOVATION AND GROWTH THROUGH LEGAL REFORM, The Kauffman Task Force on Law, Innovation, and Growth (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2011), pp 367-380.​
Neuroscientific Developments as a Legal Challenge, in Le Neuroscienze e il Diritto, Amedeo Santosuosso, ed. (Como-Pavia, Ibis, 2009) (Proceedings of Le neuroscienze e il diritto, sponsored by Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale, Universita degli Studi di Pavia and the Core d'Appello di Milan, Palazzo di giustizia di Milano, Milan, Italy, December​ 19, 2008).
Can Cognitive Neuroscience Make Psychology a Foundational Discipline for the Study of Law? in Belinda Brooks-Gordon and Michael Freeman, eds., Law and Psychology, Current Legal Issues Vol. 9 , pp. 77-92 (Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2006).​
"Law and the Biology of Commitment," in Evolution and the Capacity For Commitment (Randolph Nesse ed., 2002).​
Law and the Biology of Commitment, in Randolph Nesse, ed., Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment (Russel Sage, 2002).​
"Information Replication in Culture: Three Modes for the Transmission of Culture Elements through Observed Action," in Imitation in Animals and Artifacts 573 (M.I.T. Press 2002).​

Law and the Architecture of Human Intelligence, in Haft, Fritjof et al. eds., Bausteine zu einer Verhaltungstheorie des Rechts (Nomos, 2001)

​"Law and the Architecture of Human Intelligence," in Bausteine zu einer Verhaltungstheorie des Rechts (Haft, Fritjof et al. eds., 2001).​


Co-Organizer with Matt Ridley, Monika Cheney and Julian Morris and presenter of "Generativity and Institutional Innovation", as part of Is Innovation Evolutionary? Understanding the Processes Underlying Innovation, Millbank House, House of Lords, London, England, July 9,​ 2014​.
​Co-Organizer with Monika Cheney of Innovation and Growth, Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference, Olympic Valley, CA, May 18-23, 2014, and presenter of Innovation and Growth: Goals and Methods; Generativity and Institutional Innovation; The "Great Restructuring" in American Legal System; and Computational Contracting and Financial Instruments.​
Co-Organizer with Monika Cheney and Phil Malone of the Stanford University Law School/Gruter Institute Workshop on Innovation, Palo Alto, CA, March 24, 2014. ​
Co-Organizer with Monika Cheney and Urs Gasser of the Berkman Center/Gruter Institute Workshop on Innovation, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, January 24, 2014.​
​Co-organizer with Monika Cheney of Innovation and Growth: Biological, Economic, Institutional and Technological, Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference, Olympic Valley, California, May 19-24, 2013, and presenter of Innovation and Growth: Goals and Methods (with Monika Cheney), Legal Kinetics and Catalysis (with Jennifer Drobac), The Law and Robots: How Legal Infrastructure Can Support Economic Growth, and Rates of Growth and Their Limits.

​"Strategic Mechanisms, Functional Modeling, and Experimental Design for Neurolaw and Property," 3rd Annual Property and Psychology Roundtable Workshop, Syracuse University College of Law, June 16, 2011

​"Creating and Consuming Scholarship in the Age of Information Overload," Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, Boston, June 2, 2011.​
"Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Multiple Stages, Multiple Challenges" at Innovation and Economic Growth: Exploring the Origins and Effects of Innovative Behavior, Gruter Institute Annual Conference, Squaw Valley, CA, May 25-27, 2011.​
"Introduction to Neuroscience and its Application to Law," Mississippi Trial & Appellate Judges Spring Conference, Jackson Marriott - Jackson, MS April 28, 2011.​
​Participant and discussion leader, Educating the Digital Lawyer, A workshop hosted by The Columbia Law School Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, Jerome Greene Annex and Faculty House, New York, New York, April 14, 2011.​

​Presenter of "Neuroscience and the Ethics of Legal Practice" and panel moderator of "Neuroscience and Decision Making" and "Brains, Behavior and Addiction: Culpability and Punishment," at Law and the Brain, a conference of Public Information Resources, Inc., New York, New York, March 16, 2011

A Decade of Neurolaw - Where Has it Brought Us? at the 12th Scholarship Conference of The Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California, February 11, 2011.​

​Panelist, "Synthetic Biology Meets the Law," Program of the Biolaw Section, 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, San Francisco, California, January 5, 2011

"​A Decade of Neurolaw - Where Has it Brought Us?," at The Brain Sciences in the Courtroom, a Symposium of the Mercer Law Review, the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, Mercer, Georgia, October 22, 2010.
"Financial Reform and Innovation" at Governance as an Open Platform, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society's Law Lab, in collaboration with O'Reilly Media, Inc., Washington, D.C., September 8-9, 2010.​
Digital Incorporation: Firm Formation in the Virtual World at the Kauffman Summer Legal Institute, Dana Point, California, July 9, 2010.​
​​Co-Organizer and presenter at Seminar on Neuroscience & Criminal Behavior for Chief U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers and Substance Abuse/Mental Health Specialists, presented by the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research and the Federal Judicial Center, Philadelphia, PA, June 12-13, 2010.
​Organizer and presenter at a Workshop on Neuroscience and Law, a training session for the New Hampshire U.S. Attorneys office,, cosponsored by the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project, and the Dartmouth College Ethics Institute, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 19, 2010.
The Future of Law in a Digital Age, A Presentation for Law Day 2010, Hanscom Air Force Base, Concord, Massachusetts, April 30, 2010.​
​"Evolutionary and Neuroscientific Approaches to Law: Games, Brains and Mechanism Design," at Evolutionary Approaches to Comparative Law: Integrating Theoretical Perspectives, Joint Expert Seminar, sponsored by the Ghent University Department of Legal Theory and Legal History and the Tilburg University Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law, Ghent, Belgium, April 23-24, 2010.​
​Co-Organizer and presenter of "Reflections on the Use of Biology in the Study of Cooperation" at Moral Biology, hosted by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School, in collaboration with the University-Wide Program on Ethics and Health, The Project on Law and Mind Sciences, the Harvard Provost's Office, the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project and the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 15-16, 2010.​
​"Strategic Mechanisms, Functional Modeling and Experimental Design in Neurolaw" an ESI/IFREE Lecture, Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, Orange, California, February 19, 2010.​
"Future of Venture Finance: Reflections on Short-Term Fixes and a Possible Full-Scale Redesign," at The Future of Venture Finance, a conference organized by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Coconut Grove, Florida, January 14-15, 2010.​
"Strategic Mechanisms, Functional Modeling and Experimental Design in Neurolaw" at CELS 2009, 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA, November 20, 2009.​
​Co-Organizer and presenter of Introduction to Neuroscience and Law, at Law, Neuroscience and Mental Health, a Legislative Workshop, co sponsored by the Vermont Law School and the University of Vermont, South Royalton, Vermont, October 2, 2009.​
​"If Hume Knew Neuroscience: A Functional Explanation for the Apparent Separation of 'Is' and 'Ought'," at Current Legal Issues Colloquium: Law & Neuroscience, University College London, July 6, 2009.​
​"Fact Finding: Designing a Judicial Training Program - Bias, Eyewitness Testimony, and Neuroscience," presented with Sandra Oxner, Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 18, 2009​
Co-Organizer and presenter, Seminar on Law and Neuroscience, co-sponsored by the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, the National Judicial College, and the Vanderbilt University Law School, a MacArthur Project Outreach Program, Nashville, Tennessee, June 18-19, 2009.​
Co-Organizer and session chair, Context and the Evolution of Mechanisms for Solving Collective Action, at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, April 30 - May 3, 2009.​
​Co-Organizer, moderator, and presenter at Neuroscience for Federal Judges, a Law and Neuroscience Project Education and Outreach Program event co-sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center, Stanford Law School, Palo Alto, California, June 5-6, 2008.​
Biotechnology and the Future of Intellectual Property: A Proposition, Three Challenges, a High-Tech Approach and a Low-Tech Suggestion, presented at The Future of Intellectual Property, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, 2001.​
Locating the Sense of Justice in the Brain, presented at the Institut fur Anthropologie, Campus Charite Mitte, Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 2001.​
Neuroscience and the Law: The Architecture of Human Intelligence Shapes How We Make and Apply Law, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, 2000.​
Cultural Evolution: Getting Beyond the Memetics Metaphors, a presentation to the Sub-department of Animal Behavior, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 1999.​
Biology, Behavior, and the Criminal Law, faculty adviser and p​anelist, Vermont Law Review Symposium, 1997.​
Courtroom Drama: The Law Applicable to Fact-Based Film, Television and Theater, University of Birmingham, 1996.​
Law in a Modular Mind, Law and Biology seminar for federal judges, Dartmouth College, 1996.​
Privacy and Publicity, Intellectual Property Institute, London, 1996​.​
Law in a Modular Mind, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, 1996.​
The Opportunity of New Technologies, East/West Producers Seminar, Czech Republic, 1994.​
The Importance of Intellectual Property Law in International Relations, Ankara, Turkey, 1993.​
Understanding the United States Motion Picture Industry, Moscow, Russia, 1990.

Awards & Accomplishments


​DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, OFFICE OF FINANCIAL RESEARCH, Washington, DC. Researcher, Research and Analysis, 2013-

SSRN LAW & NEUROSCIENCE EJOURNAL, Co-Editor with Amanda Pustilnik, 2010 - 2012

​Vermont Law School Richard Brooks Faculty Scholarship Prize, given to a faculty member who has consistently exhibited the highest standards of scholarship, announced January 2010 for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years

​LEXISNEXIS, New York, New York. Member, Law School Publishing Advisory Board, 2014 -

VERMONT LAW SCHOOL, South Royalton, Vermont. Director, Center for Legal Innovation, 2013- ; Director of Scholarship, 2008-2013; Professor of Law, 1996- ; Associate Professor, 1993-1996; Assistant Professor, 1992-93.


GRUTER INSTITUTE FOR LAW AND BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH, Portola Valley, California. Research Fellow, 1994- ; Planning and Programming Committee, Chair, 2000- ; Member 1997-2000.

​Gruter Institute Bene Merenti Award, for outstanding achievements in law and behavioral research, June, 2002

​THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION RESEARCH NETWORK OF LAW AND NEUROSCIENCE, Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, Tennessee. Associate Network Member and Senior Director of Education and Outreach. 2012- .

​HARVARD UNIVERSITY, BERKMAN CENTER FOR INTERNET & SOCIETY, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Faculty Associate, 2014 - ; Faculty Fellow, 2007- 2014; Co-Director, Law Lab, 2008 – 2014

​KAY & BOOSE, LLP (and predecessors Kay Collyer & Boose and Fulop & Hardee), New York, New York. Of Counsel, 1991-2003; Partner, 1986-1990; Associate, 1981-1986
CLEARY, GOTTLIEB, STEEN & HAMILTON, New York, New York. Associate, 1978-1981

​DARTMOUTH COLLEGE, THAYER SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, Hanover, New Hampshire. Adjunct Professor, 2006- ;Visiting Professor, 2004-2006

​Lee Loevinger Jurimetrics Research Award, awarded April, 2000 for Mapping Cortical Areas Associated with Legal Reasoning and with Moral Intuition

​UNIVERSITY OF PAVIA, Pavia, Italy. Affiliated researcher, 2013-