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Faculty Focus

ALI Names Bar-Gill Top Young Scholar

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Professor Oren Bar-Gill received the prestigious American Law Institute’s first-ever Young Scholars Medal. According to ALI, the award was created “to call attention to academic work that is practical, focused on the real world, and can influence law for the better.” Bar-Gill was recognized for “his insights into consumer psychology, which are the basis for his proposal of specific legal solutions to match specific problems in the markets for cell phones, subprime mortgages, and credit cards.”

In 2009, Bar-Gill and Rebecca Stone ’09 (who is currently clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer) co-authored “Mobile Misperceptions” in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. The piece, which discussed consumer confusion regarding cell phone contracts, attracted the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, which invited Bar-Gill to present the paper’s findings. Bar-Gill also consulted with FCC staff who were drafting new regulations for the cell phone and other telecommunications service markets. Other articles by Bar-Gill that served as the basis for the ALI medal were “The Law, Economics, and Psychology of Subprime Mortgage Contracts,” published in the Cornell Law Review in 2009, and “Seduction by Plastic,” in the Northwestern University Law Review in 2004.

Law school deans nominated more than 70 candidates, all professors in their first decade of teaching, and Bar-Gill was one of only two to receive the medal. Last fall, Bar-Gill also became associate editor of Behavioral Science and Policy, a new quarterly journal sponsored by the Rand Corporation that aims to translate behavioral science research into public and private policy solutions in the public interest.

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