Ryan Scoville

Ryan Scoville's picture
Ryan Scoville's picture

Ryan Scoville

Professor of Law
Courses Taught Civil Procedure, International Law, U.S. Foreign Relations Law, Conflict of Laws
Areas of Law Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, International Law


Professor Scoville teaches and writes on U.S. foreign relations law and international law. A Fulbright Scholar and a former managing editor for AJIL Unbound, his research has been discussed in a number of national media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, The Atlantic, and Foreign Policy. One of his articles (Ad Hoc Diplomats) played an important role in the drafting of Section 5105 of the State Department Authorization Act of 2021, which limits the president's ability to appoint special envoys without the Senate's advice and consent. Another one of his articles (Unqualified Ambassadors) proposed reforms that were embraced by the Ambassador Oversight & Transparency Act (S.4849, 116th Cong. (2020)). Since 2022, Yale Law School's Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic has represented him in a lawsuit that challenges and seeks to reform the State Department's chronically slow responses to FOIA requests. 

Before entering academia, Professor Scoville worked as a litigation associate in the Tokyo office of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, and served as a law clerk for Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. He also worked briefly at the Arms Control Association and the Defense Department's Office of the General Counsel (International Affairs).

Professor Scoville holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was an executive editor for the Stanford Law Review, and a B.A. from Brigham Young University. He speaks Japanese (JLPT N2).


U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments (W.S. Hein & Co., forthcoming 2023) (co-edited with Mitchell Knief)

Selected Law Review Articles

The International Commitments of the Fifty States, 70 UCLA L. Rev. (forthcoming 2023) [SSRN]

U.S. Foreign Relations Law from the Outside In, 47 Yale J. Int'l L. 1 (2022) [SSRN]

Unqualified Ambassadors, 69 Duke L.J. 71 (2019) [SSRN]

Who Studies International Law? Explaining Cross-National Variation in Compulsory International Legal Education, 30 Eur. J. Int'l L. 481 (2019) (with Mark Berlin) [SSRN]

Ad Hoc Diplomats, 68 Duke L.J. 907 (2019) [SSRN]

Finding Customary International Law, 101 Iowa L. Rev. 1893 (2016) [SSRN]

Legislative Diplomacy, 112 Mich. L. Rev. 331 (2013) [SSRN]

American Society of International Law, State Bar of California, State Bar of Idaho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit