Richard Epstein

Profile Updated: July 26, 2009
Residing In: Chicago, IL USA
Spouse/Partner: Eileen W. Epstein
Homepage: View Website
Occupation: Professor of Law

I have been married to Eileen Wolfe Epstein since 1972. We have three children, Melissa Epstein (Pianko) (33), Benjamin Marc Epstein (28), and Elliot Reuben Epstein (25). Melissa is married to Daniel Pianko. Their daughter is Bella Catherine Pianko. She will have a sibling come early next year. Eileen still does some work as a development consultant after working in that capacity first at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (1990-2004) and the Chicago Children's Choir (2004-2008). Melissa is a real estate developer with the Gotham Corporation in NYC. Benjamin is a film and screen writer in Los Angeles, and Elliot is a recruiter for Teach for America in New York. Daniel is an entrepreneur who specializes in for-profit education.

We live most of the year in Chicago, but spend the fall semesters in New York, and some winters in Palo Alto.


Columbia College, A.B. 1964
Oxford University B.A. (Juris) 1966
Yale Law School, LLB 1968


Here is the entry from my web page

Richard A. Epstein

Richard A. Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1972. He has also been the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. Prior to joining the University of Chicago Law School faculty, he taught law at the University of Southern California from 1968 to 1972. He served as Interim Dean from February to June, 2001.

He received an LLD, hc, from the University of Ghent, 2003. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1985 and a Senior Fellow of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medical School, also since 1983. He served as editor of the Journal of Legal Studies from 1981 to 1991, and of the Journal of Law and Economics from 1991 to 2001. At present he is a director of the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics.

His books include Antitrust Decrees in Theory and Practice: Why Less Is More (AEI 2007); Overdose: How Excessive Government Regulation Stifles Pharmaceutical Innovation (Yale University Press 2006); How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution (Cato 2006). Cases and Materials on Torts (Aspen Law & Business; 8th ed. 2004); Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism (University of Chicago 2003): Cases and Materials on Torts (Aspen Law & Business; 7th ed. 2000); Torts (Aspen Law & Business 1999); Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty with the Common Good (Perseus Books 1998): Mortal Peril: Our Inalienable Rights to Health Care (Addison-Wesley 1997); Simple Rules for a Complex World (Harvard 1995); Bargaining with the State (Princeton, 1993); Forbidden Grounds: The Case against Employment Discrimination Laws (Harvard 1992); Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain (Harvard 1985); and Modern Products Liability Law (Greenwood Press 1980). He has written numerous articles on a wide range of legal and interdisciplinary subjects.

He has taught courses in civil procedure, communications, constitutional law, contracts, corporations, criminal law, health law and policy, legal history, labor law, property, real estate development and finance, jurisprudence, labor law; land use planning, patents, individual, estate and corporate taxation, Roman Law; torts, and workers' compensation.

Lifelong Hobbies:

I suppose that speaking, writing and teaching don't quite count as hobbies, but they take up the great bulk of my time, without regret. When younger I was an indifferent chess and bridge player, and a piano player of no ability. The love of music, however, has been a constant in my life. I have played a lot of basketball, and still play, with a bad left leg in a brace. Crossword puzzles are a latter hobby, but with only modest success.

Community Activities:

I have worked on all sorts of pro bono legal matters, dealing with land use issues, intellectual property issues, criminal detention issues, and the like. I speak often at meetings of judges, lawyers, students, and other academics I have been on one or two boards, but travel so much that it is hard to get any continuity, especial in the last ten years none of which have I spent in the same community.


My life has been pretty linear. I thought that I wanted to teach something from the time that I was about 10. I quickly discovered that I would not be a math or science whiz or a literary lion. Social studies was my natural home in high school, which translated into a college career without major, as I took equal doses of philosophy, mathematics,and sociology. Economics came later, mostly by osmosis. But the style of intellectual thought fit the choice of law, at least as an academic career. I still have no single area of expertise. I continue to teach, whenever possible, new courses every year, and have covered much of the curriculum, and often write in areas where I don't teach. I have never been outside the academy, with four years teaching at the University of Southern California before moving over to Chicago, having left Los Angeles, the day I got married to Eileen in Beverly Hills. No real Sturm und Drang. I still write a lot. I have no idea what sparks ideas, but I do know that if you wait for inspiration to come, it never does. So just sit down with a whisper of an idea and see how it all flows.

Did You Graduate From North Or South?


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Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2022 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jan 21, 2021 at 9:01 PM

I first saw Donald Bloch when, fresh from Brooklyn, we were in the same seventh grade class in the fall of 1954. I heard him speak for the first time in response to a question, and recall thinking to myself in a state of near shock: what is he doing here, when he is obviously ready for college. His speech was so powerful, so well formed and so confident that it was all too evident that he was a person apart.

Donny and I were not close, but our paths did cross often in the next six years. From this time,  three other stories stand out.  The two of us where in the Speech class taught by Thora Cole. We were chosen  to debate the question of whether to support the UN. I spoke first and gave some bland remarks in favor of the UN.  Donny got up, and it was a complete tour-de-force.  He was eloquent, self-assured, stunningly wellinformed a master debater, and so influential on the day that he helped shape my views over the next 65 years .

One day when I was struggling with Latin, I heard someone ask Donny how he learned all those Latin declensions and conjugations.  His answer —"I read them” —by which he clearly meant, he read them once, and they were locked in for life.

Lastly, in twelfth grade physics , we were in the same section.  One day, he got into a spirited argument that raged for the better part of an hour with the great Lewis Love, a physics teacher for the ages.  It became abundantly clear that either the entire field of physics or Donny was wrong.  It turned out to be the latter, but Donny argued his position with such passion and ingenuity that he might as well have been right. 

But throughout all those years, and with all his energy and brilliance, he carried himself with grace. He never took himself too seriously.  We shall all miss him, and treasure our individual and collective memories of this most extraordinary man.   

Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2020 at 4:35 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Richard Epstein has a birthday today.
Apr 17, 2015 at 4:34 AM
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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM