William A. Birdthistle

Professor of Law
565 W. Adams St., Room 727
Chicago, IL 60661


  • J.D., Harvard Law School
  • B.A., Duke University


William A. Birdthistle joined the faculty of Chicago-Kent in 2006. Previously, he practiced for five years at Ropes & Gray in Boston, where he was a corporate associate in the investment management practice. While at the firm, Professor Birdthistle worked primarily on matters involving mutual funds and hedge funds, focusing specifically on governmental investigations into allegations of malfeasance in the mutual fund industry. He is the author of Empire of the Fund: The Way We Save Now (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Professor Birdthistle's research explores investment funds, executive compensation, and corporate governance. He has published academic articles in the University of Chicago Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Illinois Law Review, Green Bag, and Wisconsin Law Review, among other places, and has written book reviews, op-eds, and other pieces for the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Christian Science Monitor. Two of his articles have been selected for inclusion in the Securities Law Review anthology of the top 10 securities law review articles of the year.

Professor Birdthistle has served as counsel of record on multiple amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been quoted by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, and Associated Press, and has appeared on NPR's "Marketplace" and several other media outlets in connection with corporate and financial legal developments.

Professor Birdthistle is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in English and psychology from Duke University in 1995. Following law school, Professor Birdthistle clerked for Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a citizen of both the Republic of Ireland and the United States and spent eight years living in Marsa el-Brega, Libya, and nine years living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before coming to the United States in 1991 for his undergraduate studies. At Chicago-Kent, he teaches business organizations, securities regulation, corporate finance, investment funds, and international business transactions.


Search Professor Birdthistle's publications on works.bepress.com.