McGeorge School of Law

Brian Slocum

Professor of Law
Brian G. Slocum
Phone: 916.739.7013
Website: SSRN

BBA, Pacific Union College
JD, Harvard Law School
MA, Linguistics, University of California, Davis
PhD, Linguistics, University of California, Davis


Professor of Law Brian Slocum, PhD, is an award-winning scholar and teacher with recognized expertise in administrative law, contracts, immigration law, statutory interpretation, and law and language. Professor Slocum is the author of "Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation" (University of Chicago Press), and the editor of a forthcoming book, "Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy" (University of Chicago Press). His numerous and frequently cited articles have been published in top journals, including Ratio Juris, Northwestern University Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, Statute Law Review (Oxford University Press), and Maryland Law Review.

Following his clerkship for Judge Frank Magill, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Professor Slocum joined the Department of Justice through its Honors Program. While at Justice, Professor Slocum argued more than a dozen appellate cases, wrote and reviewed criminal legislation, authored the Department's guidance on various criminal matters to federal prosecutors throughout the country, lectured to federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and wrote a speech for the Attorney General and congressional testimony for the Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

Professor Slocum joined the McGeorge School of Law faculty in 2008 where he quickly established himself as a top legal scholar. In 2012, by vote of his peers, Dr. Slocum was presented with the John G. Sprankling Award for Faculty Scholarship. In 2013 and 2014, he won the Julie A. Davies Professor of the Year Award.

In addition to a law degree, Professor Slocum holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Linguistics. His papers can be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).



Legislation/Statutory Interpretation

Administrative Law

Representative Scholarship and Activities

Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming 2017).

Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation, University of Chicago Press (2015).

"Conversational Implicatures and Legal Texts," Ratio Juris (March 2016).

"The Ordinary Meaning of Rules," in Problems of Normativity, Rules and Rule-Following (Law and Philosophy Library) (Michal Araszkiewicz, Pawel Banas, Tomasz Gizbert-Studnicki and Krzysztof Pleszka, eds.) (Springer 2014).

"The Importance of Being Ambiguous: Substantive Canons, Stare Decisis, and the Central Role of Ambiguity Determinations in the Administrative State," 69 Md. L. Rev. 791 (2010).

"Overlooked Temporal Issues in Statutory Interpretation," 81 Temp. L. Rev. 635 (2008).

"The Problematic Nature of Contractionist Statutory Interpretation," 102 Nw. U. L. Rev. Colloquy 307 (2008).

"Canons, The Plenary Power Doctrine and Immigration Law," 34 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 363 (2007).