Boston University School of Law

Robert B. Seidman

Professor Emeritus of Law
B.A., Harvard University
LL.B., Columbia University Law School

Interests: comparative law; law and development; legislative drafting; legislation; criminal law

Professor Emeritus Robert Seidman has been a distinguished member of the BU Law faculty since 1972. With his wife, Adjunct Professor Ann Seidman, he has served as chief technical consultant to United Nations-sponsored programs that are helping the Chinese government achieve economic reforms and strengthen legislative drafting. Under the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Program and other agencies, they have implemented similar programs in the Lao P.D.R., South Africa, Belize, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Bhutan, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Guyana, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Kyrgystan.

“The poor countries of the world have not used the law effectively as a tool for social change. The result has been poverty, vulnerability and poor governance,” says Seidman, who has taught law in Africa at the Universities of Ghana and those of five other African countries, and has served as a consultant to governmental ministries in various countries throughout the world. “The work my wife and I continue to do aims to train drafters in less developed societies to contribute constructively to transforming their countries in positive ways.”

A former Fulbright professor of law at Beijing University, Seidman is the co-author of a number of books including Law, Order and Power and, with Ann Seidman, The State and Law in the Development Process. He is editor of Cases and Materials in the Criminal Law of Africa and author of State, Law and Development. The Seidmans also co-edited Legislative Drafting for Market Reforms: Some Lessons from China and Making Development Work: Legislative Reform for Institutional Transformation and Good Governance. They wrote Legislative Drafting for Democratic Social Change: A Manual for Drafters (translated into eleven foreign languages) and Assessing Legislation: A Manual For Legislators (translated into three foreign languages). Most recently, they edited Africa’s Challenge:  The Use of Law for Development and Good Government) (in press).Early in his career, Professor Seidman spent several years in private practice in New York and Connecticut.