Eric S. Janus

Professor of Law

RS16442_Eric Janus


Phone: 651-290-6310
Fax: 651-290-6426
Office: Rm 359

Biography | Bibliography

SSRN author page


“Many students come to law school with the hope of being of service to others. I hope to provide one model to them of how they can practice law and serve the public. There is a very definite connection between my scholarship, my public service work, and the teaching I do. The practice of law is most satisfying when the lawyer is able to spend part of his or her time doing work that is congruent with his or her personal values.”


B.A. magna cum laude, 1968, Carleton College

J.D. cum laude, 1973, Harvard Law School


William Mitchell College of Law: president and dean, 2007-2015; interim president and dean, 2007; vice dean, 2004-07; professor of law, 1989-; associate professor of law, 1986-89; assistant professor of law, 1984-86.

Managing attorney, Minneapolis, Legal Aid Society, 1977-84.

Staff attorney, Minneapolis, Legal Aid Society, 1973-77.

Admitted: Massachusetts, 1973; Minnesota, 1974; U.S. Supreme Court, 1996.

Professional Focus

Professor Janus’ scholarly focus has been on the interaction of law with psychiatry and other health sciences. Building on his experience as court-appointed counsel in extended constitutional litigation challenging Minnesota’s Sexually Dangerous Person Law, he has focused on the boundaries of the state’s ability to use civil commitment to protect public safety. He is interested in the effectiveness of risk assessment, the place of danger assessment in society, and the public policy implications of the current approach to dealing with sexual violence. He has examined other coercive interventions for the protection of society such as quarantine and terrorism-related preventive confinement. He has studied the impact on prevention of international human rights law. His latest book is Failure to Protect:  America’s Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State.

Leadership & Service

Named as one of the “25 Most Influential People in Legal Education,” The National Jurist, 2015-. State of Minnesota, Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force, 2012 -. 21st Century Leadership Award, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, 2012. Elected member, American Law Institute, 2010-. Member, American Bar Association, Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Bar Admission Committee, 2009-. Conference organizer, Understanding and Managing Sexually Coercive Behavior, New York Academy of Sciences, June 2002. Recipient of David Graven Public Service Award, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2001.  Local Rules Committee, United States District Court, District of Minnesota.  Board of Governors, Society of American Law Teachers.  Editor, The Equalizer, newsletter for the Society of American Law Teachers. Contributing Editor, Sex Offender Law Report.  Volunteer, fact-finding mission to Uzbekistan, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.  Co-counsel in constitutional litigation challenging use of civil commitment for sex offenders.  Past-chair, Section on Mental Disability Law, Association of American Law Schools, 1997-98.  U.S. Peace Corps, Turkey, 1968-70.