Dean Haider Ala Hamoudi

Headshot of Haider Ala Hamoudi

Haider Ala Hamoudi

Dean and Professor of Law, College of Law



Areas of Interest: Middle Eastern and Islamic Law



Dean Haider Ala Hamoudi is the principal academic and chief executive officer of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, providing leadership to over 35 full time faculty members, over 40 staff members, and approximately 500 students. In so doing, he oversees all operations of the College, including the budget. He works closely with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development, and the Dean’s Leadership Team on matters of strategic priority to the school, including growing academic and scholarly excellence, ensuring student success, fostering a deeper sense of inclusion and belonging within the College of Law community, and building a community of partners committed to the College’s success regionally, nationally, and globally. Dean Hamoudi also serves as the primary external face of UC Law School, including with respect to alumni and development, as well as bench, bar, and government leaders.

In addition to his role at UC Law, Dean Hamoudi is the Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Law Quarterly, a position he has held since 2018. He was retained by Brill, the publisher of the Quarterly, to revitalize and restore the scholarly reputation of Quarterly as the most highly regarded and widely distributed law journal addressing matters of Arab law in the English language. To this end, Dean Hamoudi has led an effort to replace entirely the peer review process, recompose the Board of Editors, establish special symposium issues, and engage in an aggressive digital marketing campaign to redefine the image of the Quarterly within the relevant scholarly community.

Dean Hamoudi’s scholarship focuses on Middle Eastern and Islamic law. As concerns Islamic law, and specifically Islamic finance, where he has done much of his writing, his approach has been to focus on the manner in which modern legal actors, with their own preexisting political, social, economic and ideological dispositions, interpret and apply Islamic law as part of the positive law of contemporary states. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters in a wide variety of law school journals, university presses and other scholarly venues; he also has coauthored a casebook on Islamic law entitled Islamic Law in Modern Courts, and a Nutshell on Islamic Law with West Publishing. As a result of his work, he has become internationally recognized as a leading scholar in the field.

As with his work in the area of Islamic law, Dean Hamoudi’s scholarship on the law of the Middle East focusses on the law as it operates in the field rather than as it exists in texts and commentaries. Thus, he spent most of 2009 in Baghdad advising the Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature, responsible for developing critical amendments to the Iraq Constitution deemed necessary for Iraqi national reconciliation, on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad. He also advised on other key pieces of legislation, including a hydrocarbons law, a revenue management law, and an antitrust law. From this work, and from extensive contemporaneous research into the records and legislative history of the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution in 2005, Dean Hamoudi published the book Negotiating in Civil Conflict: Imperfect Bargaining and Constitutional Construction in Iraq with the University of Chicago Press in 2013.

Dean Hamoudi’s more recent work looks at the three primary forms of legal order in the Iraqi nation-state—tribal law, Islamic law, and state law—and attempts to explain how they interact with one another to organize commercial and other private law activity throughout the state. As with his earlier work, Dean Hamoudi seeks to demonstrate that the actual operation of law, including Islamic law, is far more complex and interesting than any examination of authoritative legal texts would lead one to believe.

Dean Hamoudi received his B.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. He was both a member of the Physics Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma, and a Burchard Scholar for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 1996, Dean Hamoudi received his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. In 2008 he also received his JSD from Columbia Law School.

After graduating from law school in 1996, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Constance Baker Motley of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked as an Associate at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton until 2003. In 2003 and 2004, Dean Hamoudi served as a legal advisor to the Finance Committee of the Iraq Governing Council, as well as a program manager for a project managed by the International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University School of Law to improve legal education in Iraq. Upon joining academia, he served as an Associate in Law at Columbia Law School. Dean Hamoudi then held multiple positions at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, including Professor of Law, Vice Dean and Interim Dean. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Utah SJ Quinney School of Law, the Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary, and a Senior Nonresident Fellow at Boston University’s Institute of Iraq Studies. He became Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law on August 1, 2023.

Please see Dean Hamoudi’s welcome message to the broader UC Community here.


  • BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • JD, Columbia Law School
  • JSD, Columbia Law School
  • MA, Harvard University
  • Middle Eastern law
  • Islamic law
  • Islamic Law
  • Contracts
  • Commercial Transactions in Goods
  • 2022 Robert W. Harper Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2022 Pro Bono Honor Roll - Association of American Law Schools
  • 2014 Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar in Residence - College of William and Mary
  • 2014 Robert W. Harper Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2009 Hessel Yntema Prize - American Society of Comparative Law