William P. Alford

Alford speaks on the Future of Legal Education in 2012

William P. Alford (Chinese name: 安守廉; An Shoulian) (born 1948) is a United States legal scholar. He is currently Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law and Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School (Massachusetts, USA). He is Director of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law, and is regarded as an expert in the field of Chinese law.

He is an honorary professor of Renmin University, Zhejiang University and the China National School of Administration, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Studies Institute of the Department of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He directed the China Center for American Law Study, the first academic program in U.S. law in the PRC, was a founder in 1982 of the U.S. Committee on Legal Education Exchange with China, is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships for his work on China, and is on a host of advisory and editorial boards.


Alford received his B.A. degree from Amherst College in 1970, LL.B degree from the University of Cambridge in 1972. He received M.A.s in Chinese Studies and Chinese History from Yale University in 1974 and 1975, respectively, and a J.D from Harvard Law School in 1977.

He has been involved for decades in China's legal reform. Almost 25 years ago, with Professor Randle Edwards, then of Columbia, he founded the first academic program in the PRC on American law and the first national exchange program to bring Chinese students to the U.S. for legal education—including many who are in the forefront of legal change in China today. In the years since, he has been called on by both the US government and China's—as well as multilateral organizations, foundations, civic groups and NGOs, law firms and businesses—to offer advice on a range of issues from trade to human rights to intellectual property to the legal profession and legal education and beyond. In recent years, he has focused on the pro bono work with the Special Olympics in issues of disability in China.

Personal lifeEdit

Professor Alford is married to Dr. Yuanyuan Shen, a lawyer, and an Associate in Research at the Fairbank Center for the East Asian Research of Harvard University since 1991. She is a graduate of People's University of China (now Renmin University of China) in Beijing, Harvard Law School, and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D.).[1] Her father was Shen Zulun, a governor of Zhejiang Province in China.[2]

Professor Alford and his family live in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Selected publicationsEdit


  • Alford, William P., The Changing international legal order : a Chinese perspective, Los Angeles, Calif. : Academic Pub. Service, 1984
  • Alford, William P.,To Steal a Book Is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization, Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8047-2270-6
  • Alford, William P., (editor), Raising the bar : the emerging legal profession in East Asia, Cambridge, Mass. : East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School, 2006. ISBN 0-674-01452-9


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Faculty Profiles: Yuanyuan Shen", Chinese Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health.
  2. ^ "Ms. Shen Marries William Alford", The New York Times, August 26, 1991.

External linksEdit