Imre Szalai

Judge John D. Wessel Distinguished Professor of Social Justice

Imre Szalai
Imre Szalai

Professor Szalai graduated from Yale University, double majoring in Economics and Classical Civilizations, and he received his law degree from Columbia University, where he was named a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

After graduating from law school, Professor Szalai practiced antitrust law in New York City, and then he practiced complex commercial litigation in Miami, Florida, representing clients in cases in various jurisdictions.

Professor Szalai is a nationally-known scholar regarding the Federal Arbitration Act, and his teaching interests and scholarship focus on arbitration, civil procedure, and dispute resolution.  His scholarship, which has been published in leading journals regarding dispute resolution, has been cited in briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court and other federal and state courts in cases involving the Federal Arbitration Act. Courts, both domestically and abroad, have cited his work on dispute resolution, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court quoted from an amicus brief he authored in a recent case involving the Federal Arbitration Act. 

Professor Szalai wrote a leading book about the enactment and development of modern arbitration laws, Outsourcing Justice: The Rise of Modern Arbitration Laws in America. Professor Szalai’s book, which draws on previously untapped archival sources, explores the many different people, institutions, forces, beliefs, and events that led to the enactment of modern arbitration laws during the 1920s, and this book examines why America’s arbitration laws radically changed during this period.  By examining the history of modern arbitration laws and the original intent behind these laws, this book demonstrates how the U.S. Supreme Court has grossly misconstrued these laws.

Professor Szalai has also presented written testimony to Congress regarding arbitration law.  In connection with litigation, he has written several amicus briefs and served as an expert regarding arbitration issues, and he has been interviewed and quoted in hundreds of national and international media outlets regarding arbitration, including USA Today, LA Times, Money, Forbes, The Atlantic, and The Economist.  Professor Szalai also serves as an arbitrator in commercial cases, and he maintains a blog about arbitration at

Born and raised in New Orleans, Professor Szalai is a proud graduate of Jesuit High School, where he was a valedictorian.  He loves spending time with his wife and three kids, as well as running, swimming, biking, or playing basketball every day.


J.D., Columbia University, 1999; B.A., Yale University, 1996

Classes Taught

Civil Procedure I and II 
Lawyering III

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil Procedure
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Ethics