Professor of Law
An expert on antitrust law, Rudolph J.R. Peritz focuses his scholarship on the historical and legal relationships between competition policy and private property rights.
Professor Peritz started his career working with computers. After law school at the University of Texas (J.D. 1975, Order of the Coif ) and three years of private practice at Hirsch & Westheimer in Houston, he was hired as assistant attorney general of Texas, because they were looking for an attorney with a computer background. He spent the next three years working in the Antitrust Division as director of the Computer-Assisted Enforcement Project.
Professor Peritz began working with computers during his high school years. After college he worked as a systems analyst at RCA, and then for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Board of Education.
In 1977, Professor Peritz was asked to develop a seminar on computers and the law for the University of Texas. One of the first in the country, the seminar dealt with how such basic areas of law as intellectual property, copyright, criminal law, and negligence applied to the computer industry. The experience, he recalls, made him fall in love with teaching.
After a year as a Langdell Fellow at Harvard (1981–82), where, in addition to his own research, he worked on developing a computerized legal expert system for Legal Aid, Professor Peritz spent four years as associate professor at Rutgers Law School. In 1986, after a year at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he joined the New York Law School faculty.
In 1986, Professor Peritz published a law review article, still frequently cited, on the admissibility of computerized business records as evidence in federal court. Although the federal laws of evidence have not changed, Professor Peritz’s point of view—that computer records are more subject to error and fraud and therefore should not be admissible under the same standards as conventional records—has been espoused by a number of states.
His interest began to move toward antitrust scholarship with a 1989 article examining the tension between competition and private property rights. Professor Peritz was one of the first legal scholars to look at the issue.
In 1990, Professor Peritz was invited to give a paper at Duke University’s annual Frontiers of Legal Thought symposium, the genesis of his critically-acclaimed book, Competition Policy in America: 1888–1992 (Oxford University Press, 1996, revised 2001). It traces the public discourse of free competition and the underlying tension between its two different visions—freedom not only from oppressive government, but also from private economic power.
In 2001, as senior research scholar at the American Antitrust Institute in Washington, D.C., he was involved in several major education and research projects. His casebook, U.S. Antitrust Law in Global Perspective (second edition, West Publishing, 2004), written with Eleanor Fox and Lawrence Sullivan, has just been published.
Over the past several years, as an outgrowth of a sabbatical semester in 2000 spent as a visiting professor at the University of Essex in England, he has also been instrumental in developing relationships with foreign law schools that will allow exchanges of both students and professors.
In 2005, Professor Peritz launched his IProgress Project, a new “do tank” affiliated with the Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy. The Project aims to promote progress and innovation in the public interest. Its goal is improving intellectual property law and policy through research initiatives focused on law and regulatory reform, software innovation, and legal education.
Pennsylvania State University, B.S. 1969 with Distiction
University of Texas, J.D. 1975 with honors, Order of the Coif (Texas International Law Journal)
Langdell Fellow, Harvard Law School, 1981–82
Expert in antitrust law, as well as economic regulation, jurisprudence, and information technology and the law. In private practice, was consultant on computer-related cases and complex litigation. Worked as computer programmer, systems engineer, Assistant Attorney General of Texas in Antitrust Division, and Senior Research Scholar, American Antitrust Institute.