About Catharine P. Wells
Catharine Wells is a Professor of Law and Law School Fund Research Scholar at Boston College Law School, where she teaches and writes in various areas of legal theory, including Pragmatic Legal Theory, Feminist Jurisprudence and Civil Rights Theory. In addition, she teaches a class in American philosophy in College of Arts and Sciences. She is a nationally recognized expert on Pragmatism and its relationship to American legal theory. Prof. Wells has taught at a number of law schools including those at the University of Southern California, Stanford University, the University of Arizona and the University of Utah. Her law review articles have been published in many journals including the Harvard Law Review, theMichigan Law Review, University of Southern California Law Review, and the Northwestern Law Journal. Her current work in progress is a book on Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Professor Wells has also held many positions of leadership within the academic community. In addition to serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Boston College, she has served as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Torts and Compensation Systems, and the Section on Teaching Methods. She has organized numerous symposia including one on Neo-Pragmatism in American Law, which was published in the USC Law Review. She has also been elected to membership in the American Law Institute. Currently, she is working on a book about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and the pragmatic tradition in American law.
Prior to entering law teaching, Prof. Wells served as an Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Division of Public Charities for the state of Massachusetts. In the area of charities law, she has a national reputation based upon her service as past President of the National Association of State Charities Officials, as an advisor to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service with respect to Non-Profit Organizations; and as a participant in many panels and symposia on non-profit law.
Professor Wells received her law degree Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School. She also earned an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation was titled Peirce on Logic: the Phenomenological Bases of Normative Science. Her undergraduate degree was received from Wellesley College.
- Fall 2016: American Legal Theory
- Spring 2017: Advanced Topics in Civil Rights: Microaggressions
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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and the American Civil War Journal of Supreme Court History (2015)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. spent three terrible years fighting in the Civil War. By any standard his experience was horrific. He was wounded three times, suffered a nearly fatal bout of dysentery, and endured the ...
Microaggressions in the Context of an Academic Community Seattle Journal for Social Justice (2013)
There has been much discussion of the concept of microaggressions in the legal literature. These are statements made by members of a dominant group that serve to denigrate, delegitimate or insult minority members of the ...
Langdell and the Invention of Legal Doctrine University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series (2009)
This paper addresses two related questions. The first relates to Langdell and his development of a doctrinal theory of contract law. The substance and method of Langdell’s work has not been well understood and this ...
Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts from an Ex-Regulator Boston College Law School Faculty Papers (2006)
This paper recounts a number of lessons learned in the course of serving as the Director of Public Charities for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It incorporates these lessons into a discussion of the proper analysis ...
Who Owns the Local Church? A Pressing Issue for Dioceses in Bankruptcy Seton Hall Legislative Journal (2005)
The recent bankruptcies of Catholic Dioceses are unprecedented. For the first time, Bankruptcy Courts must deal with the difficult question of who owns the parish church. In this paper, I will explore two possible sources ...
Churches, Charities and Corrective Justice: Making Churches Pay for the Sins of Their Clergy Boston College Law Review (2003)
The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston faced the threat of large tort judgments as a result of acts of sexual abuse committed by its priests. Because the Archdiocese is a public charity, it has been suggested ...
Pragmatism, Feminism, and the Problem of Bad Coherence Michigan Law Review (1995)
In this Article, Professor Wells reviews Professor Margaret Jane Radin’s book, Reinterpreting Property. Professor Wells considers Radin’s work a rich repository of original insight, lucid analysis, and sharp debate and particularly appreciates the substantive introduction ...