Ronald J. Allen

John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law


Professor Allen is the John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law at Northwestern University, in Chicago, IL.  He did his undergraduate work in mathematics at Marshall University and studied law at the University of Michigan.  He is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of evidence, criminal procedure, and constitutional law.  He has published seven books and over 100 articles in major law reviews.  He has been quoted in national news outlets hundreds of times, and appears regularly on national broadcast media on matters ranging from constitutional law to criminal justice.  He has worked with various groups in China to help formulate proposals for legal reform, and he was recently retained by the Tanzanian Government to assist in the reform of their evidence law.

Professor Allen began his career at the State University of New York, and has held professorships at the University of Iowa and Duke University prior to coming to Northwestern.  He has lectured on his research at universities across the world, among them Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Duke University, Oxford University, University of London, Leiden University, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Edinburgh, University of British Columbia, the University of Paris (Sorbonne), Parma University, Turin University, Pavia University, University of Adelaide, Australia, and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and UNAM, Mexico City.  In 1991, he was the University Distinguished Visiting Scholar, at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. One of his books has been translated into Chinese by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, and he has been invited to China for a series of lectures each year from 2004 to 2010.  He was recently appointed the inaugural Fellow of the Procedural Law Research Center of the China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, and Chair of the Board of Advisors of the new Evidence and Forensic Science Institute in Beijing.   In April of 2007, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China announced that he had been designated as a Yangtze River Scholar, only the fourth American and first law professor (Chinese or foreign) to be so honored.  He has also been invited to lecture by the governments of Mexico, Spain, and Trinidad/Tobago.  For the last ten years, his research has focused on the nature of juridical proof.

He is a member of the American Law Institute, has chaired the Evidence Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and was Vice-chair of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence Committee of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section.  He has served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Supreme Court, assigned to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. He is presently on the Boards of the Constitutional Rights Foundation-Chicago, and the Yeager Society of Scholars of Marshall University. He has served on various boards and committees of civic and cultural institutions in Chicago, and presently is a member of the Board of the Joffrey Ballet.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Constitutional Law

Selected Publications

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  • BS magna cum laude, Marshall University
  • JD magna cum laude, University of Michigan

Prior Appointments

  • Professor of Law, Duke University
  • Professor of Law, University of Iowa
  • Associate Professor of Law, Assistant Professor of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo

Recent Consulting Activities

  • Of Counsel, Eimer Stahl Klevor & Solberg

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