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James  Nelson



James D. Nelson

Vinson & Elkins Professor

James Nelson is the Vinson & Elkins Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. He also holds an appointment at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. His recent work has been published or is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Journal of Corporation Law, and the Harvard Business Law Review.

Prior to joining the Law Center, Professor Nelson was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. He has also been a Fellow at the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, Research Director of the Project on Corporate Political Spending at Harvard Law School, Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School, and Editor-at-Large of Columbia Law School’s Blog on Corporations and the Capital Markets.

Professor Nelson graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law Review. In law school, he received the Roger & Madeleine Traynor Prize for the best paper by a graduating student and the Robert E. Goldsten Award for distinction in the classroom.


Disestablishment at Work, 134 Yale Law Journal (forthcoming 2025)

Second-Order Decisions in Rights Conflicts, 109 Virginia Law Review 1095 (2023) (with Micah Schwartzman)

Religion Law and Political Economy, 108 Iowa Law Review 2341 (2023) (with Elizabeth Sepper) (invited symposium)

Government’s Religious Hospitals, 109 Virginia Law Review 61 (2023) (with Elizabeth Sepper)

The Separation of Ownership and Conscience, 48 Journal of Corporation Law 577 (2023)

The Religious Conversion of Corporate Social Responsibility, 71 Emory Law Journal 217 (2021) (with Elizabeth Sepper)

Some Realism about Corporate Crime, 83 Law & Contemporary Problems 113 (2020)

The Untenable Case for Keeping Investors in the Dark, 10 Harvard Business Law Review (forthcoming 2020) (with Lucian Bebchuk, Robert J. Jackson, Jr., and Roberto Tallarita)

Corporate Disestablishment, 105 Virginia Law Review 595 (2019)

The Trouble with Corporate Conscience, 71 Vanderbilt Law Review 1655 (2018)

Corporations, Unions, and the Illusion of Symmetry, 102 Virginia Law Review 1969 (2016)

The Freedom of Business Association, 115 Columbia Law Review 461 (2015)

Conscience, Incorporated, 2013 Michigan State Law Review 1565