Scott Cummings, Professor of Law and Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law

Scott Cummings holds the inaugural Robert Henigson Chair in Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law, where he has taught since 2002. He is the founding Faculty Director of the Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession, which promotes research and dialogue on the professional challenges of global legal practice and the role of legal ethics in democracy. In 2023, Professor Cummings was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on lawyers in backsliding democracy and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award.

Professor Cummings has authored several books and more than fifty articles and chapters, and has been recognized as one of the most-cited scholars in the field of legal ethics and the legal profession. He has appeared in prominent news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, NBC News, CNN, Bloomberg, and Slate, and has been a frequent contributor to webinars and podcasts on legal ethics in relation to the 2020 election, among other topics. His work has received international attention, marked by invited lectures in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America, and his research has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. In 2022, Professor Cummings was selected as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University and as the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. He is the 2023 Wiley Manuel Visiting Scholar at the UC Hastings School of Law and currently serves as a Trustee of the Law and Society Association and officer of the International Association of Legal Ethics.

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Academic Experience


UCLA School of Law


Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics


Professor of Law


Assistant Professor of Law

Research: Legal Profession, Legal Ethics, Legal Mobilization, Law and Society, Lawyers and Democracy, Access to Justice, Economic Justice, Urban Studies, Labor, Inequality


UCLA Department of Sociology (by courtesy)


The University of Pennsylvania Law School

Visiting Professor of Law (Fall)


Harvard Law School

Visiting Professor of Law (Spring)

Professional Experience


United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Pasadena, California

Law Clerk, Honorable A. Wallace Tashima


Public Counsel Law Center, Los Angeles, California

Skadden Fellow (1998-2000), Staff Attorney (2000-2001), Community Development Law Project


United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois

Law Clerk, Honorable James B. Moran

Educational Experience


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

Executive Editor, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review


University of California, Berkeley, A.B., Political Economy, highest distinction

Phi Beta Kappa



Visiting Professor, Centre on Social Movement Studies, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, Italy (March-May)


Visiting Fellow, European University Institute, Department of Law, Florence, Italy (September-February)


Wiley Manuel Distinguished Visiting Scholar

UC Hastings College of Law, Center for Racial and Economic Justice, San Francisco, California


Recognized in Leiter Ranking of Most-Cited Legal Ethics/Legal Profession Scholars



Fulbright Distinguished Scholar

Fulbright-Schuman Award at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy (January-July)


Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Stanford University, Stanford, California (Fall)


Trustee, Law and Society Association


U. Serve L.A. Distinguished Service Award

UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, California


The University of Sydney Law School

Parsons Visitor (Summer)


NSF Grantee


NSF Grantee

Teaching plus icon

LAW 230: Business Association

This course provides a survey of the law of corporations, both public and closely held. Topics include corporate formation; the authority and duties of corporate managers, including the duty of care and duty of loyalty; voting and control arrangements; and fundamental corporate changes.

LAW 285: Local Government Law

Professor Scott Cummings teaching a course about local government law

This course will consider the source, scope, and limits of local government power. It will consider the relationship of local governments to state and federal government and of the relationship of local governments to the individuals and communities within and around them.

LAW 312: Professional Responsibility

Professor Scott Cummings speaking about legal ethics and the profession

This course deals with the Professional Responsibility Requirement and the law and ethics of lawyering; that is, the standards of law and the ethics that lawyers are held to (or aspire to) in their professional roles.

LAW 739: Community Economic

Community economic development (CED) has emerged over the past quarter century as a important strategy for redressing urban poverty. The main programmatic goal of CED—advanced primarily by community-based nonprofit organizations—has been to increase investment in low-income neighborhoods in order to produce economic transformation and community empowerment.

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Program on Legal Ethics & the Profession at UCLA

Scott Cummings - Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession at UCLA

The Program on Legal Ethics & the Profession addresses the central challenges facing today’s lawyers, serving as a forum examining professional issues drawn from across areas of legal practice. By fostering a discussion for the practical and scholarly exchange of the central challenges of contemporary legal practice, the Program on Legal Ethics & the Profession trains the next generation of lawyers and professional leaders to identify solutions to resolve complex ethical problems.

Leadership Positions

Articles Editor, Legal Ethics

Trustee, Law and Society Association

Treasurer, International Association of Legal Ethics

Editorial Board, Law & Social Inquiry

Editorial Board, International Journal of the Legal Profession