John K.M. Ohnesorge

George Young Bascom Professor of Law; Director for East Asian Legal Studies

Ohnesorge, John K.M.

Room 9112, Law School

Curriculum Vitae


B.A., St. Olaf College (1985)
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School (1989)
S.J.D., Harvard Law School (2002)


Professor Ohnesorge teaches Business Organizations and Administrative Law, as well as seminars in Chinese Law, and in Law and Development. He is the Director of the Law School's East Asian Legal Studies Center, founder of the Law School's Compliance Initiative, and former Chair of the Wisconsin China Initiative (2008-2012).  He has served on the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate, the Law School's Academic Planning Council, the Faculty Appointments Committee, Tenure and Promotions Committee, Chairs Committee, an ad hoc grading system revision committee, and chaired an ad hoc Legal Research and Writing program revision committee.

A native of Minneapolis, Professor Ohnesorge received his B.A. from St. Olaf College (English and Psychology, 1985), his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School (1989), and his S.J.D. from Harvard Law School (2002). Along the way he has spent several years in East Asia, first as a teacher and law student in Shanghai in the 1980s, and then as a lawyer in private practice in Seoul in the 1990s.

During the course of his S.J.D. studies, Professor Ohnesorge spent a year as a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law in Heidelberg, Germany, on a fellowship from Harvard's Center for European Studies. In 2000 he served as a lecturer at Harvard Law School, co-teaching with Professor William P. Alford. From 2000 to 2001 he clerked for Federal District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel (D. Mass), then joined the Law School in the fall of 2001.



Law Repository

Research Interests

  • Administrative Law and Politics
  • Law and Economic Development
  • East Asian Legal System Development
  • International Economic Law
  • History of Legal Thought

Activities & Scholarship

  • In October 2019, John Ohnesorge presented "Comparing Impeachment Regimes: Law, Institutions and Politics" at Kenyon College's Center for the Study of American Democracy.

  • The 2019 Wisconsin Law Review Symposium, which was chaired by former UW Law Professor Andrew Coan, featured a number of UW Law faculty, including Anuj Desai, Howie Erlanger, Neil Komesar, John Ohnesorge, Asifa Quraishi-Landes, David Schwartz, Miriam Seifter and Rob Yablon. The symposium, titled "Rationing the Constitution: How Judicial Capacity Shapes Supreme Decision-Making,” was held Oct. 24 and 25.

  • John Ohnesorge presented his work, "Development is Not a Dinner Party: A Hurstian Perspective on Law and Growth in China," at a University of Michigan Law School conference held in October. The conference was titled "China's Legal System at 40 Years ⁠—Towards an Autonomous Legal System?"

  • John Ohnesorge participated in "Law as Technology," a workshop organized by Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law & Policy (IGLP) in June. The workshop featured scholars from around the world discussing relationships between law and technology, past, present and future.

  • In June, John Ohnesorge presented his paper, "Comparing Impeachment Regimes," at the 14th Annual Comparative Law Work-In-Progress Workshop, co-hosted by the American Society of Comparative Law and the University of Illinois College of Law. The paper explores how comparative research into impeachment systems could be structured so as to take into account both legal and political factors.

  • John Ohnesorge's paper, "Comparing Impeachment Regimes," has been selected as one of the papers for discussion at the American Society of Comparative Law's 2019 Work-in-Progress workshop. The workshop is co-hosted by the University of Illinois College of Law, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

  • John Ohnesorge and the East Asian Legal Studies Center hosted Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc. Kind, who serves on the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, spoke with students and faculty about his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and prospects for its passage during the upcoming lame-duck session.

Teaching Areas

  • Administrative Law
  • Business Organizations/Corporations
  • Comparative Law
  • Law & Development

Recently Taught Courses

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