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John M. Adler


Professor John M. Adler teaches on constitutional law and legal negotiation. His current research involves a study on the impact of immigration law and policy on individuals living in the Bay Area. He also volunteers with Canal Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides multiple services to an underserved immigrant community in San Rafael, Calif.

Adler began teaching at the USF School of Law in 1983, has served as associate dean, and has received the Distinguished Professor Award numerous times by graduating classes.

Prior to joining the faculty at USF, Adler worked as a staff attorney with the American Indian Lawyer Training Program, where he co-authored Indian Self-Determination and the Role of Tribal Courts, and practiced law with the San Francisco firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP.

  • AB, Harvard University
  • JD, University of New Mexico
Prior Experience
  • Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Staff Attorney, American Indian Lawyer Training Program
  • Distinguished Professor Award, USF School of Law (1988, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009)
    Law Review and Journal Articles
    • "Relying Upon the Reasonableness of Strangers: Some Observations About the Current State of Common Law Affirmative Duties to Aid or Protect Others," 1991 Wisconsin Law Review 867 (1991).
    Book Contributions
      Opinion Pieces and Blog Posts
        Other Publications
        • Report, "Indian Self-Determination and the Role of Tribal Courts," The American Indian Lawyer Training Program, (1977). (Co-authored)
          Court Citation of Research
            • Presenter, "Affirmative Action After Fisher v. University of Texas," University of San Francisco American Constitution Society, Black Law Students Association, and La Raza Students Association, (February 2013). (Co-presented with Professor Julie Nice)
            • Moderator, "The Road to Fisher," University of San Francisco Law Review Symposium, "The Future of Affirmative Action After Fisher," (February 2013).
            • Moderator, "Indigenous Rights," 13th Annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Retreat, University of San Francisco School of Law, (March 2011).
            • Moderator, "Judicial Independence: Corporate Expenditures and State Judicial Elections," University of San Francisco Law Review Symposium "Democracy, Inc? Citizens United, Corporate Expenditures & the Future of Campaign Finance Law," (February 2011).
            • Presenter, "Politics and Justice: Focus on the Supreme Court," Marin Seniors for Peace, Marin, Calif. (August 2010).
            • Presenter, "Analyzing the Federal Challenge," USF Law Review Symposium "The Future of Same-Sex Marriage," (February 2010).
            • Presenter, USF School of Law Constitution Day, "The Supreme Court Selection Process and Justice Sonia Sotomayor," (September 2009). (Co-presented with Professors Maria Ontiveros and Julie Nice)
            • Panelist, University of San Francisco School of Law Forum "The Future of the Supreme Court," (October 2008). (Co-presented with Professors Maya Manian and Julie Nice.)
            • Panelist, USF School of Law Consitution Day, (September 2005). (Video Recording)
            • Presenter, "50 Years After Brown v. Board of Education," (2004). (Video Recording)
            Testimony and Hearings
              Written Testimony and Commentary
                Advisor or Consultant
                • Consultant, Redwoods
                  Symposia Organization
                    Professional Membership
                    • President, Canal Alliance Board of Directors
                      Other Service
                      • USF Representative, "Congreso y Asamblea de la Asociacion Mundial" (May 2007). (Meeting of Jesuit law schools in Bogota, Colombia.)
                      • Adler has been involved with the Canal Alliance in different capacities for about seven years, and presently serves on the Canal Alliance Board of Directors.
                      • Worked with Professor Dolores Donovan to help establish USF rule-of-law program in Cambodia (early 1990s).