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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

William S. Richardson Law

Pacific-Asian Legal Studies

2515 Dole Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2350

United States


(808) 956-6552


(808) 956-5569



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Alison Conner

William S. Richardson School of Law
Professor of Law
Director, International Programs
Faculty Advisor, LLM Program
Member, Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Committee

Area/Regional Expertise

Asian Comparative Law
Chinese Law
Chinese Business Law

PALS Courses Taught

Comparative Law
Law & Society In China


PhD, Cornell University
JD, Harvard Law School
MA, Cornell University
BA, University of Florida, high honors


Professor Conner joined the faculty in January 1995 after nearly twelve years of teaching and research in Asia. She earned her doctorate in Chinese and South East Asian history at Cornell University and her law degree at Harvard Law School, where she specialized in Asian and comparative law and was a research fellow in the East Asian Legal Studies Program. Following law school, she taught Chinese and East Asian history and then spent five years practicing law on Wall Street.

During the 1983-84 academic year, she served as a senior Fulbright professor at the University of Nanjing's Department of Law, in one of the first Fulbright groups to return to China since 1949. From 1984 to 1986 she was a member of the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore. In 1986 she joined the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law, where she taught both Hong Kong and Chinese law as a tenured member of the faculty. While based in Hong Kong, she conducted research in Taiwan and Shanghai under grants from the Inter-University Program and the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China. She also taught in the University of London LL.B. (external) program offered in Hong Kong.

Professor Conner organized the Law School's LL.M. Program for Foreign Lawyers and served as its director from 2002-2007. She currently serves as director of international programs at the Law School. Since 1995, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Comparative Law and from 2001 to 2003 she served on the Society's Executive Committee; in 2008 she was elected to serve as Secretary of the Society. She was the convener and organizer of the Society's 2005 Annual Meeting on Multiple Sovereignties: Federalism in the 21st Century, which was co-sponsored by the Law School and the East-West Center; this was the first time the Society had met in Hawai'i. She has been a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of Comparative Law since 1995, and in 2005 was invited to join the Editorial Board of The Journal of Comparative Law. In 2006 she was elected an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. In 2007, she co-organized a conference on "Dispute Resolution in China," which was sponsored by the Oxford Foundation on Law, Justice and Society and the Law School.

Since joining the Law School from Asia, Professor Conner has continued her involvement in international legal education and exchanges. She served as External Examiner (Chinese law LL.M. courses) at the Department of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University from1996 to 2008. In December 1999, she was an invited faculty member in the Salzburg Seminar's session on "China and the Global Community," and in June 2004 she returned as faculty convener for a Salzburg Seminar special session on East Asia-the United States: A Search for Common Values. In 2005, she was appointed to The International Cooperation Committee of the AALS, and she continues to serve on that association-wide committee.

She has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut, the Duke-Hong Kong University Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law, Introduction to American Law at the La Trobe Faculty of Law and Management and the University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education. In 2004 she returned to China on her second Fulbright award and taught comparative law as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

During the 1999-2000 academic year, she was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. and was also awarded a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation senior scholar grant. In 2001, Professor Conner was selected as Outstanding Law Professor of the Year and in 2002 she received a Chancellor's Citation for Meritorious Teaching. She writes on modern Chinese law and Chinese legal history but maintains her broader interests in Asian history, art and cinema.

Selected Publications


Book Chapters


"Legends of the Legal Academy: Jerome Alan Cohen," 60 Journal of Legal Education 687 (2011).
"Movie Justice: The Legal System in Pre-1949 Chinese Film," 12 Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal 1 (Winter 2010).
"Training China’s Lawyers: Enduring Influences and Disconnects," in Albert Chen and John Gillespie, Legal Development in East Asia: China and Vietnam Compared (Routledge 2010).
"Bench and Bar: Lawyers and Judges in Early Chinese Movies," 39 Hong Kong Law Journal 575 (2010).
“History of Chinese Law: The Republic 1911-49,” “Confessions,” “Confession and Acceptance of Sentence in Chinese Law,” and “Lawyers in Chinese Law,” in Stanley N. Katz, ed., Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press 2009).
"Anglo-American Law at Soochow," in Daniel Bay and Ellen Widmer, eds., China's Christian Colleges: Cross Cultural Connections, 1900-50 (Stanford University Press 2009).
"Don't Change Your Husband: Divorce in Early Chinese Movies," 40 Connecticut Law Review 1247 (2008).
"English as a Second Language for Americans?" 36 International Journal of Legal Information 94 (2008).
"Chinese Lawyers on the Silver Screen," in Mark Sidel and Corey Creekmur, Cinema, Law, and the State in Asia (Palgrave 2007).
"Soochow in the South," 2 Soochow Law Journal 1 (2005).
"The Comparative Law School of China," in C. Stephen Hsu, ed., Understanding China's Legal System (New York University Press, 2003). A Chinese translation of this article appears in 15 Zhongwai Faxue [Peking University Law Journal] 680 (Dec. 2003); and in Gao Hongjun, He Weifang and Karen Turner, eds., Meiguo Xuezhe Lun Zhongguo Falu Chuantong [Recent American Academic Writings on Traditional Chinese Law] (Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, rev. ed. 2003) 579-655.
"How I Got the Story (and Why It Took So Long): Legal Research in China" 2 Washington University Global Studies Law Review 193 (2003).
"Chinese Confessions and the Use of Torture," in Bernard Durand, ed., La Torture Judiciare: Approches historiques et juridiques (Centre d'Histoire Judiciare, Universite Montpelier, 2002) 63.


Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching
Outstanding Professor of Law Award, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2010


External Examiner (Chinese law LL.M. courses), Department of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, 1994-2008.
Member, International Cooperation Committee, Association of American Law Schools, 2005-2008.
Member, Board of Directors, American Society of Comparative Law; Board of Editors, American Journal of Comparative Law, 1995 to present. Member, Executive Committee, 2001-2003; secretary, 2008 to present.
Associate Member, International Academy of Comparative Law, 2006 to present.
Member, Editorial Board, The Journal of Comparative Law, 2005 to present.
Member, Advisory Board, Centre for Chinese Law, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, 2008 to present.


Professor Conner With LLM Students

Professor Conner With Tsinghua Law School Faculty