Solan Lawrence Photo

Lawrence Solan

1901 Distinguished Professor of Law
(718) 780-0357
J.D., Harvard Law School
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
B.A., Brandeis University
Areas of Expertise
Criminal Law
Language and the Law
Statutory Interpretation


Lawrence Solan holds both a law degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics. His scholarly works, which will be the subject of a festschrift in his honor scheduled for the fall of 2023, are largely devoted to exploring interdisciplinary issues related to law, language and psychology, especially in the areas of statutory and contractual interpretation, the attribution of liability and blame, and linguistic evidence. He served as director of the Law School's Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition, and his acclaimed book, The Language of Judges, is widely recognized as a seminal work on linguistic theory and legal argumentation. His most recent books are The Language of Statutes: Laws and their Interpretation, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010, and The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law, co-edited with Peter Tiersma and published in 2012. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and regularly lectures in the United States and abroad.

Professor Solan has been a visiting professor in the Council of Humanities and the Psychology Department at Princeton University. He has also been and a visiting professor at Yale Law School. He has served as president of the International Association of Forensic Linguistics, is on the board of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, and the editorial board of the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.

Prior to joining the faculty in 1996, Professor Solan was a partner in the firm of Orans, Elsen and Lupert, where he specialized in complex civil litigation, before which he was a law clerk to Justice Stewart Pollock of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.