David Louis Finnegan


bio finnegan


B.S.F.S. Georgetown University 1988
J.D. University of Michigan Law School 1991
Ph.D. University of Michigan 2008

[email protected]

Professor Finnegan has expertise in international law, rule of law, legal and judicial reform in developing countries, foreign law, and antitrust law.

Professor Finnegan graduated with honors from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of International Law. He received his undergraduate training at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He also has studied at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Professor Finnegan’s research focuses on law and policy reform in Africa and other developing regions.

Professor Finnegan earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, where his studies concentrated on the fields of Comparative Government and Public Law. His dissertation examined the relationship between law reform and economic development in Africa. Fieldwork for the dissertation was supported in principal part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Prior to joining academia, Professor Finnegan practiced law in Washington, D.C. His practice focused on domestic and international antitrust law, international investment dispute arbitration, government contracts investigations and related litigation, and litigation of commercial disputes before arbitration panels and federal courts.

Professor Finnegan teaches International Law, Property I, Property II, International Legal Advocacy Skills, and International and Comparative Competition Law. He has served as the on-site director of the law school's foreign study programs in Toronto, Canada, and Oxford, U.K. He serves as faculty adviser to the law school’s Jessup International Law Moot Court team.


  • Private Ordering, Dynamic Tradition and the Uniform Commercial Code, in Research Handbook on International Commercial Contracts (Andrew Hutchinson & Franziska Myburgh, eds.) (forthcoming Edward Elgar 2020).

  • Demand for Law in the African Private Sector, 8 Law & Development Review 333 (2018) (peer reviewed).

  • Demand for law in the African Private Sector:  Some Evidence from Tanzania.  Conference Presentation, 2017 LDI Conference, University of Cape Town, South Africa (September 7, 2017).

  • Assessment of Zanzibar’s Pilot Case Management System.  Report prepared for the International Legal Resource Center (Aug. 22, 2016).  Incorporated into ABA-UNDP ILRC, Review of Case Management System of the United Republic of Tanzania (Aug. 31, 2016).

  • The Economic Implications of Law Reform in Africa.  Conference Presentation, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2016).
  • Publishing to a Global Audience, 30 T. M. Cooley L. Rev. 153 (2013).  Conference presentation, National Conference of Law Reviews (March 21, 2013). 
  • Race, Politics & Land Reform in South Africa.  Presentation at Race & Politics: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, Ann Arbor, MI (January 16, 2012).
  • Review of Zanzibar’s Draft Bill on Anti-Corruption.  Report prepared for the ABA-UNDP International Legal Research Center (August 10, 2011).   Incorporated into ABA-UNDP ILRC, Analysis of Zanzibar’s Draft Bill on Anti-Corruption for UNDP/Tanzania (2011).
  • Commercial Law Reform and the Private Sector in Tanzania.  Conference Presentation.  Global Financial Reform: International Law Intersecting the New World Economy, ILSA Fall Conference 2009 (October 9, 2009).
  • Law and Economic Development.  Conference Presentation.  Symposium on the Rule of Law in Africa, Thomas M. Cooley Law School (October 4, 2008).
  • Law and Private Sector Development in Tanzania.  Ph.D. dissertation.  Dissertation defended October 1, 2008.  Ph.D. awarded December 14, 2008.
  • Law and the Private Sector in Africa.  Conference Presentation.  2008 U.S.-Africa Sister Cities Conference, Lansing, MI (July 24, 2008).
  • The Path to Successful Law Reform.  Paper prepared for the World Bank’s Doing Business project. (February 26, 2008) (solicited).
  • Applied Comparative Law and Judicial Reform, 8 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clin. L. 97 (2006) (solicited).
  • The Demand for Law in Africa Paper presented at the Conference on Comparative Constitutionalism and Rights: Global Perspectives, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa (December 2005).
  • Judicial Reform and Commercial Justice: The Experience of Tanzania’s Commercial Court (August 2004).  Background Paper Prepared for World Bank’s World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate For Everyone (2004).
  • The Pursuit of Efficient Justice:  Observations on Tanzania’s Commercial Court (February 2001).  Background Paper Prepared for World Bank’s World Development Report 2002:  Institutions for Markets (2001).  Presentation at World Bank Consultative Meeting on Judicial Systems, Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2001).


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