Duncan B. Hollis is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and James E. Beasley Professor of Law at Temple Law School. His scholarship focuses on issues of authority in international and foreign affairs law, asking who exercises authority in the formation, interpretation and application of international law, and who is it that has the authority to apply such law to, or for, national actors. Hollis has focused on treaties, interpretation, and cyberspace as the key subjects for his studies of authority. He is the editor of the Oxford Guide to Treaties (OUP, 2012) which was awarded the 2013 ASIL Certificate of Merit for high technical craftsmanship and utility to practicing lawyers. His expertise on treaty issues has been sought or used by all three branches of the federal government as well as several international organizations.  His cyber-related research studies international law’s role in regulating cyberthreats and the future of cybernormsHe is part of a team headed by research scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) that was awarded a three-year U.S Department of Defense Minerva Grant for inter-disciplinary analysis of existing norms of behavior and governance in cyberspace. Professor Hollis’s scholarship has appeared in various books and journals, including the Texas Law Review, the Southern California Law Review, the American Journal of International Law, the Harvard Journal of International Law, the Virginia Journal of International Law. He is a regular contributor to the premier international law blog, Opinio Juris and currently is also a non-resident Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.   He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and serves as an Adviser on its project to draft a Fourth Restatement on the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. In 2016, he was elected by the General Assembly of the Organization of the American States to a four year term on the OAS’s Inter-American Juridical Committee.

Professor Hollis received an A.B., summa cum laude, from Bowdoin College. In 1996, he completed a joint-degree program, receiving a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Boston College Law School. At Boston College, he was an Executive Editor of the Law Review and received the James W. Smith Award for Highest Academic Rank.

Following graduation, Professor Hollis worked for the International Department of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. In 1998, Professor Hollis joined the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, where he worked until joining the Temple faculty in 2004. During his tenure at the State Department, Professor Hollis served for several years as the attorney-adviser for treaty affairs, working on various legal and constitutional issues associated with the negotiation, conclusion and implementation of U.S. treaties. Later, Professor Hollis acted as legal counsel for the Department’s Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, specializing in U.S.-Canada environmental issues and U.S. participation in multilateral environmental agreements. Professor Hollis’s practice has included international litigation before the International Court of Justice. In particular, he served as Counsel to the United States in the provisional measures phase of the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States) and contributed to the U.S. presentation in the Oil Platforms Case (Iran v. United States).


M.A.L.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
J.D. (summa cum laude), Boston College Law School
A.B. (summa cum laude), Bowdoin College

Research & Teaching Areas

Areas of Expertise

Selected Publications

Publications and Media Appearances SSRN


  • Member, American Law Institute

Selected Conferences

  • Panelist, Do We Need a Red Cross for Cyberspace, Cybersecurity for a New America: Big Ideas and New Voices, New America Foundation, Washington D.C., February 2015
  • Presenter, Cybersecurity Processes and Events, ICT4Peace Annual Cybersecurity State of Play Review, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, January 2015
  • Keynote Speaker, International Legal Frameworks for Cyberspace, Marshall Center Program on Cyber Security, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, December 2014
  • Presenter, An Intersubjective Treaty Power, The Treaty Power after Bond v. United States: Interpretative and Constitutional Constraints, Notre Dame Law School, November 2014
  • Visiting Lecturer, The Law of Treaties, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey, September-October 2014
  • Beyond the Law’s Flaws: Can We Ever Devise Effective Legal Regulation of Cyber Threats?, Council on Foreign Relations’ Roundtable Series on Cyber conflict and Cybersecurity, New York City, June 2014
  • Presenter, Neither Cacophony nor Concert: Minor Notes on the Future of Metanorms for Cyberspace, Cybernorms Workshop, CyCon: NATO CCD COE Conference on Cyber conflicts, Tallinn, Estonia, June 2014
  • Presenter, Norms Applying to Cyber Fueled Conflicts Below the Level of Armed Attack, Cyber Norms Workshop 3.0, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, April 2014.
  • Presenter (Plenary Panel), The Existential Function of Interpretation in International Law, Cambridge Conference on Interpretation, Cambridge University, United Kingdom, August 2013.
  • Keynote Address, The Law of Cyber Warfare: Can the Current Legal Regime Hack It? American University College of Law, Washington, D.C., November 2012.
  • Panelist, Symposium: Cyber-Attacks & Cyber Warfare, SWP Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin, Germany, March 2012.
  • Panelist, Symposium: Cybersecurity—Law, Privacy and Warfare in a Digital World, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, March 2011.
  • Panelist, An e-SOS for Cyberspace, Symposium: From Cybersecurity to Cyberwar, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI, September 2010.
  • Panelist, Why States Need New Rules for Cyberconflicts, 2010 McCain Conference, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, April 2010.
  • Lecturer, U.S. Treaty Law & Practice, Law of Treaties Seminar, Queen Mary College, London, United Kingdom, November 2009.
  • Lecturer, A New International Law for Information Operations, Cyberwar and Cybercrime Seminar, Harvard Law School, October 2009.
  • Chair, Hermeneutics and Interpretation, Changing Futures? Science and International Law, ESIL-ASIL Research Forum, University of Helsinki, Finland, October 2009.
  • Paper Presenter, Unpacking the Compact Clause, Foreign Affairs Colloquium, Georgetown University Law Center, September 2009.