Tom W. Bell

Tom W. Bell
  • Discipline: Law
  • Organization: Chapman University

Professor Tom W. Bell teaches intellectual property, entertainment, property, tort, contract, and commercial law courses at Chapman University School of Law, in Orange County, California.  He earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1993, where he served on the Law Review and helped start another journal.   After graduating, Prof. Bell practiced first at the largest law firm in Silicon Valley and then at a boutique law firm, in Washington, D.C., that specialized in regulated infrastructure industries.   The latter gig let him him have a hand in shutting down the Interstate Commerce Commission—a rare pleasure.

Just prior to joining Chapman Law School in 1998, Prof. Bell served as Director of Telecommunications and Technology Studies at the Cato Institute.  In addition to teaching, Prof. Bell hones his legal skills by consulting on copyright and high tech law issues.  He has for many years built statistical models of the U.S. News and World Report‘s law school rankings, using it to help clients ranging from law schools in the bottom tier to the top 25.  Most recently, Prof Bell has begun advising clients on legal issues arising from the creation of new, freer cities.

Prof. Bell's long relationship with IHS began with a 1988 seminar.  He thereafter spent a year working at IHS and attended several of its programs.  IHS helped support his law schools studies, for which he remains deeply grateful.  In 1996, Prof. Bell began teaching at IHS seminars.  He liked it so much that he has taught at one or more IHS seminars every summer since.  Most recently, Prof. Bell has written and narrated a series of films with LearnLiberty, an IHS project.  See

He has published scholarship (available at on such topics as copyright law and policy, freedom of expression, and consent theory.  He contributes regularly to The Freeman and is on several group blogs.  For fun, he plays guitar, works out, and enjoys living in San Clemente with his family.