John Bliss

Assistant Professor


Legal Ethics and Legal Profession, Property Law

Professional Biography

John Bliss is an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and an affiliate faculty member at the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession. He also works with the Institute for Law & AI, a world-leading think tank on the legal challenges posed by advancing AI capabilities.
His research uses empirical methods to understand lawyers’ public-interest values, identities, and impacts. Through interviews, surveys, archives, and ethnography, he tells the stories of these lawyers and seeks to understand what motivates them, how they make sense of their work, and how they can enhance their efficacy and ethics.
His research agenda began with a five-year dissertation study examining the changing values and aspirations of law students and young lawyers. He has taken this inquiry further into legal careers with empirical studies of pro bono, public-interest ideals in the Chinese bar, and social-change lawyering in the early formation of major social movements. He has studied the early NAACP campaign for fair housing, the founding of the animal rights movement, and the emergence of a global legal community advocating for safe AI development. Much of his current work focuses on transformative advances in legal AI and the implications for legal education and the future of the lawyer role. He organizes a blog on these topics, providing up-to-date analysis of legal AI capabilities (see
Professor Bliss’s scholarship has been published by leading outlets for interdisciplinary research on law and the legal profession, including Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Society Review, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Jurimetrics, Wisconsin Law Review, and UC Davis Law Review.

At DU, Professor Bliss teaches courses on professional responsibility, property, and AI in the legal profession. Along with Associate Dean Alexi Freeman, he co-founded and co-directs the 1L Public Good Program, an evidence-based curriculum and practicum designed to support first-year students who aspire to careers in public interest law. 

Before joining the Denver Law faculty, Professor Bliss completed his J.D. and Ph.D. at UC Berkeley and then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession. He belongs to several academic associations relating to the interdisciplinary study of law, including serving on the board of the New Legal Realism project.

View CV


  • PhD, 2016, University of California Berkeley
  • JD, 2010, University of California Berkeley
  • Double BA, 2004, University of Washington