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Douglas Sylvester

Douglas Sylvester

Dean, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix campus
111 East Taylor Pl. Ste 501
Phoenix, AZ 85004


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Dean, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
  • Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
  • Faculty Fellow, Center for Law, Science & Innovation


Douglas Sylvester is the eighth dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Under his leadership, ASU Law reached historic heights ranked 24th in the nation (up from 40th in 2012, and 58th in 2008) and 7th among public law schools. From 2012-2020, the law school placed in the top 25 for employment (rising as high as #11 in 2014), hired nearly 60 faculty members, and raised nearly $80 million — more than twice the amount raised in the prior 45 years combined.

Professor Sylvester was also a driving force for the conceptualization and creation of the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix, which is now home to ASU Law and a number of other legal-related organizations including the innovative ASU Law Group and the Arizona Legal Center.

Before becoming dean, he served as associate dean for faculty research and development, responsible for building an environment that fosters faculty scholarship, organizing speaker series, mentoring junior faculty, and seeking innovative ways to increase the faculty's visibility.

In 2007, Professor Sylvester was appointed special consultant to a National Academy of Sciences panel charged with reforming the U.S. Census. He was the founding faculty director of the innovative Technology Ventures Clinic which introduces students to transactional legal practice in high-technology sectors. He also has been an expert witness in cases involving licensing, intellectual property and technology, and has advised numerous entrepreneurs in building their businesses.

Professor Sylvester has published, taught and lectured on issues of intellectual property law and commercialization, international law, emerging technologies and privacy. In 2006, he taught nanotechnology and the law, the first time such a course was offered in the country by full-time law faculty.

Prior to joining the ASU, Professor Sylvester was a Bigelow Fellow and lecturer-in-law at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, an attorney in the Global e-Commerce Practice Group at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, and a law clerk for U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Atkins in Florida.


  • LLM, New York University Law School, 1998
  • JD, University of Buffalo School of Law, 1994
  • BA, University of Toronto, 1991

External Links

Journal Articles


Bowman, D., A. D. Marino and D. J. Sylvester. 2017. The patent landscape of nanomedicines. Medical Research Archives 5(9):. (link )


Marchant, G. E., D. J. Sylvester and K. W. Abbott. 2010. New soft law approach to nanotechnology oversight: A voluntary product certification scheme. UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy 28:123-152.

Book Chapters


Bowman, D. M., D. J. Sylvester and A. D. Marino. 2017. Chapter 22 - Returning to the patent landscapes for nanotechnology: Assessing the garden that it has grown into. Pp. 315-338 In: Petrosko, S. H. and E. Day eds., Biomedical Nanotechnology: Methods and Protocols. Vol 1570. Humana Press. ISBN: 978-1-4939-6838-1.


Marchant, G. E., K. W. Abbott, D. J. Sylvester and L. M. Gulley. 2012. Transnational new govenance and the international coordination of nanotechnology oversight. In: Dana, D. ed., The Nanotechnology Challenge: Creating Legal Institutions for Uncertain Challenges. Cambridge University Press.


Sylvester, D. J. and D. M. Bowman. 2011. Navigating the patent landscapes for nanotechnology: English gardens or tangled grounds?. Pp. 359-378 In: Hurst, S. J. ed., Biomedical Nanotechnology: Methods and Protocols. Springer. ISBN: 978-1493958207.


Abbott, K. W., D. J. Sylvester and G. E. Marchant. 2010. Transnational regulation of nanotechnology: Reality or romanticism?. Pp. 525-544 In: Hodge, G. A., D. M. Bowden and A. D. Maynard eds., International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Cheltenham, UK. ISBN: 978-1848446731.


Marchant, G., D. Sylvester and K. W. Abbott. 2007. Nanotechnology regulation: The United States approach. Pp. 189-211 In: Hodge, G., D. Bowman and K. Ludlow eds., New Global Frontiers in Regulation: The Age of Nanotechnology. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Cheltenham, UK. ISBN: 978-1847205186.