Professor of Law Emerita
Carlsmith Ball Faculty Scholar (2018-2020)
Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching
BA, University of Florida, 2023
MA, Cornell University, 2023
JD, Harvard Law School, 2023
PhD, Cornell University, 2023
Alison W. Conner joined the faculty in 1995 after nearly twelve years of teaching and research in Asia. She earned her Ph.D. in Chinese and Southeast Asian history at Cornell University and her law degree at Harvard Law School, where she specialized in Asian and comparative law and was a research fellow in the East Asian Legal Studies Program. Following law school, she taught Chinese and East Asian history and then spent five years practicing law on Wall Street before moving to Asia in 1983.
During the 1983-84 academic year, she taught as a Senior Fulbright Professor at Nanjing University’s Department of Law, in one of the first Fulbright groups to return to China after 1949. From 1984 to 1986 she was a member of the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore, teaching courses on Singapore law. In 1986 she joined the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law, where she taught both Hong Kong and Chinese law as a tenured member of the faculty. In 2004 she returned to China on her second Fulbright award and taught comparative law as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Beijing’s Tsinghua University; since then she has continued to teach in other programs in Hong Kong and Australia. During the spring 2014 and 2015 semesters, she was the resident director for the University’s study abroad semester in China, where she taught courses on U.S. and Chinese law. In fall 2016, she was a visiting scholar at the National Taiwan University College of Law and then returned to the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law as a visiting fellow.
At the Law School, Professor Conner has maintained her involvement in international legal education and exchange programs, including the LLM, AJD and SJD programs, in addition to programs for visiting professors and visiting scholars at the Law School. Since 1995, she has also been an active member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Comparative Law. From 2001 to 2003 she also served on the Society’s Executive Committee and from 2008-2012 she served as its Secretary.
Professor Conner writes on modern Chinese law and Chinese legal history, especially in areas relating to the legal profession and legal education But she also maintains her broader interests in Asian history, art and cinema. Her most recent research has focused on the depiction of law and the legal system in Chinese movies, especially the pre-1949 films, which she loved when she first saw them in Hong Kong in the mid-1980s. A frequent speaker on the topic, she served as co-convener of two law and film symposia (in 2012 and 2013) and organized the Law & Film Institute at the Law School.
- “Justice and Law at the (1980) Chinese Movies,” 32 Law & Literature (2020). PDF
- “Shanghai Calling: Law and Happiness in Another China,” 18 Journal of Comparative Law (2018). HeinOnline
- “Christmas Rose: Hong Kong Movie in a Chinese Time?” 19 Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal (2018). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Courtroom Drama, Chinese Style,” 17 Journal of Comparative Law 437 (2017). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Law and Justice in Evening Rain,” 47 Hong Kong Law Journal 615 (2017). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Reflections on the Comparative Law School of China,” 13 Soochow Law Journal 1 (2016).
- “Trials and Justice in Awaara: A Post-Colonial Movie on Post-Revolutionary Screens?” 18 Law Text Culture 33 (2014). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “The Lawyer Who Haunts Us: Yin Zhaoshi and the Bright Day,” 54 American Journal of Legal History 429 (2014). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Training China’s Early Modern Lawyers,” 11 Soochow Law Journal 175 (2014) [originally appeared in Journal of Chinese Law 1994] and “The Comparative Law School of China,” 11 Soochow Law Journal 1 (2014) [originally appeared in Understanding China’s Legal System 2003]. SSRN
- “Images of Justice and Injustice: Trials in the Movies of Xie Jin,” 35 Hawaii Law Review 805 (2013). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Training China’s Lawyers: Enduring Influences and Disconnects,” in Stanley Lubman, ed., The Evolution of Law Reform in China: An Uncertain Path (2012). [Originally published in Albert Chen and John Gillespie, Legal Development in East Asia: China and Vietnam Compared (Routledge 2010).] SSRN
- “Legends of the Legal Academy: Jerome Alan Cohen,” 60 Journal of Legal Education 687 (2011). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Movie Justice: The Legal System in Pre-1949 Chinese Film,” 12 Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal 1 (Winter 2010). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Bench and Bar: Lawyers and Judges in Early Chinese Movies,” 39 Hong Kong Law Journal 575 (2010). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “History of Chinese Law: The Republic 1911-49,” “Confessions,” “Confession and Acceptance of Sentence in Chinese Law,” and “Lawyers in Chinese Law,” in Stanley N. Katz, ed., Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press 2009).
- “Anglo-American Law at Soochow,” in Daniel Bay and Ellen Widmer, eds., China’s Christian Colleges: Cross Cultural Connections, 1900-50 (Stanford University Press 2009).
- “Don’t Change Your Husband: Divorce in Early Chinese Movies,” 40 Connecticut Law Review 1247 (2008). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- “English as a Second Language for Americans?” 36 International Journal of Legal Information 94 (2008). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- “Chinese Lawyers on the Silver Screen,” in Mark Sidel and Corey Creekmur, Cinema, Law, and the State in Asia (Palgrave 2007). SSRN | ScholarSpace
- “Soochow in the South,” 2 Soochow Law Journal 1 (2005).
- “The Comparative Law School of China,” in C. Stephen Hsu, ed., Understanding China’s Legal System (New York University Press, 2003). A Chinese translation of this article appears in 15 Zhongwai Faxue [Peking University Law Journal] 680 (Dec. 2003); and in Gao Hongjun, He Weifang and Karen Turner, eds., Meiguo Xuezhe Lun Zhongguo Falü Chuantong [Recent American Academic Writings on Traditional Chinese Law] (Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, rev. ed. 2003) 579-655. SSRN | ScholarSpace
- “How I Got the Story (and Why It Took So Long): Legal Research in China,” 2 Washington University Global Studies Law Review 193 (2003). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Human Rights in Post-1997 Hong Kong: Still a Key Role for International Law,” 22 S. Ill. U. L. J. 307 (1998). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Training China’s Early Modern Lawyers: Soochow University Law School,” 8 J. Chinese L. 1 (1994). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Commentary: Amendments to the Chinese Constitution,” 23 Hong Kong L.J. 224 (1993). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Soochow Law School and the Shanghai Bar,” 23 Hong Kong L.J. 395 (1993). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Regulation of Foreign Lawyers in Hong Kong,” 22 Hong Kong L.J. 132 (1992). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “To Get Rich is Precarious: Regulation of Private Enterprise in the People’s Republic of China,” 5 J. Chinese L. (1991) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Translation,” 19 Hong Kong L.J. 232 (1989). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- “Legal Education in China: A Look at NanDa,” 7 Sing. L. Rev. 181 (1986). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
Grants and Awards
- Outstanding Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law 2001, 2010.
- Chancellor’s teaching award 2002, 2011.
- Associate Member, International Academy of Comparative Law 2006.
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation grants 1999–2000.