Robert M. Chesney

  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Charles I. Francis Professor in Law


  • JD Harvard
  • BS Texas Christian University

Bobby Chesney is the Charles I. Francis Professor in Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas School of Law. In addition, he is the Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, a University-wide research unit bridging across disciplines to improve understanding of international security issues. In 2009, Professor Chesney served in the Justice Department in connection with the Detention Policy Task Force created by Executive Order 13493. He also previously served the Intelligence Community as an associate member of the Intelligence Science Board and as a member of the Advanced Technology Board. In addition to his current positions at the University of Texas, he is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, a member of the American Law Institute, and a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy. He is a co-founder and contributor to, the leading source for analysis, commentary, and news relating to law and national security. In addition to his blogging at Lawfare, those interested in national security law should consider following Professor Chesney on Twitter (@bobbychesney). Professor Chesney's scholarship focuses on U.S. national security policies and institutions, encompassing both domestic and international law issues. His articles may be downloaded from SSRN here.

Professor Chesney is a magna cum laude graduate of both Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Robert D. Sack of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then practiced with the firm Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York (litigation), before beginning his academic career with Wake Forest University School of Law. There he received a teacher of the year award from the student body in one year, and from the school's dean in another. In 2008 he came to the University of Texas School of Law as a visiting professor, and then joined UT on a permanent basis in 2009. He became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2011.

Professor Chesney has taught a variety of courses over the years, including Constitutional Law, National Security Law, Evidence, Civil Procedure, and an array of security-related seminars. During the 2014-15 academic year, he will be teaching Constitutional Law I during the fall semester, and in the spring will be teaching both National Security Law and U.S. Counterterrorism Law and Policy in Historical Perspective: 1970-present.