Nicholas Parrillo

Prof. Nicholas Parrillo

Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Nicholas R. Parrillo is a Professor of Law at Yale. His principal field is administrative law, and he also works in remedies, legislation, and American legal history.  He is a specialist on the role of law in the practical workings of bureaucratic power.  Recently he was commissioned by the Administrative Conference of the United States to study how the federal government's ubiquitous but controversial use of guidance documents—which the public often has a strong incentive to follow though they are not binding law—can be appropriately managed.  The resulting study, "Federal Agency Guidance: An Institutional Perspective," provided the empirical basis for the Conference's new best practices on guidance and resulted in Parrillo testifying as an expert on the subject before Congress (video).  Parrillo is also the author of the first general assessment of how the judiciary practically handles the federal government's disobedience to court orders, "The Endgame of Administrative Law: Governmental Disobedience and the Judicial Contempt Power," published in the Harvard Law Review.  Parrillo's book, Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), received the Annual Scholarship Award of the ABA Section on Administrative Law for the year's best book or article on administrative law, as well as the Hurst Prize of the Law and Society Association for the year’s best book on legal history. The book shows how American lawmakers remade governance by shifting public officers’ monetary compensation away from profit-seeking arrangements—such as fees-for-service and bounties—and toward fixed salaries. (Read the book's introductory chapter. Watch a talk about the book.) His article “Leviathan and Interpretive Revolution: The Administrative State, the Judiciary, and the Rise of Legislative History, 1890-1950” appeared in the Yale Law Journal and received the Cromwell Article Prize of the American Society for Legal History for the year’s best article on American legal history by an early-career scholar. Parrillo is a recipient of Yale Law School's annual teaching award, which is conferred by Yale Law Women according to a competitive vote of the student body. He is one of forty public members of the Administrative Conference of the United States.  He holds a secondary appointment at Yale as Professor of History.