Laura Spitz


BA (Toronto), JD (UBC), JSD (Cornell)

Professor Spitz teaches contracts, tax, commercial law and business law. Immediately prior to joining the TRU faculty, Professor Spitz taught at the University of New Mexico, where she remains a professor of law (on leave). Before that, she was a vice provost and associate dean at Cornell University. Professor Spitz has also taught at the Sorbonne, Emory University, the University of Colorado and the University of Ottawa. As a lawyer, Professor Spitz practiced in the corporate commercial group at Miller Thomson LLP (Vancouver Office) and her practice experience includes both domestic and international business transactions, commercial transactions (including secured transactions), tax law, corporate law, banking law and First Nations economic development law.

Professor Spitz’s current research focuses on the line between subjects and objects in the common law system and the limits of their utility as categories in both law and society. Her forthcoming co-authored article in the Harvard Environmental Law Review asks whether legal subjectivity is a useful strategy for advancing progressive environmental law claims, and another forthcoming article examines historical practices of humanization and dehumanization in the construction of liberal legal subjectivity on the colony of Vancouver Island. She also writes about the difficulty of translating these categories into concepts cognizable in Indigenous legal systems.

Professor Spitz is also active in the community. She has served on the boards of directors of several theater companies, taught as a volunteer art teacher in public elementary schools, presented as part of continuing legal education programs, worked with LEAF on significant interventions in the Supreme Court of Canada, joined Amici Curiae briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, participated in panels before the 10th Circuit Judicial Conference and testified before a Georgia senate committee on proposed changes to state exemptions for the purposes of the Bankruptcy Code. Outside of work, Professor Spitz loves rock climbing, reading, hiking, cooking and biking.



  1. Laura Spitz, The Case for Adopting Reverse Veil Piercing, 51 N.M. Law Rev. (forthcoming 2021).
  2. Laura Spitz & Eduardo M. Peñalver, Nature's Personhood and Property's Virtues, 45 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2021); available at:
  3. Laura Spitz, More or Less Human: Colonialism, Law and the Social Construction of Humanity on Vancouver Island, 1849-1864, in CEL'AN'EN, LAND, AND JAMES DOUGLAS: INDIGENOUS AND TREATY RIGHTS IN THE COLONIES OF VANCOUVER ISLAND AND BRITISH COLUMBIA (Graham Brazier, Peter Cook, Hamar Foster, John Lutz, and Neil Vallance eds., forthcoming 2021); available at:
  4. Elizabeth Brundige, Lucía Domínguez Cisneros, Eduardo Peñalver & Laura Spitz, U.S. Nonprofit Activity in Cuba: Challenges in Cuban Law and Practice, 50 CORNELL INT’L L. J. 199 (2017); available at:
  5. Laura Spitz, Theorizing the More Responsive State: The Radical Potential for Constitutional Pluralism in North America, in TRANSCENDING THE BOUNDARIES OF LAW 305 (Martha Albertson Fineman, ed., 2010); available at:
  6. Laura Spitz, The Evolving Architecture of North American Integration, 80 COL. L. REV. 735-792 (2009); available at:
  7. Laura Spitz, Wands Away (or Preaching to Infidels Who Wear Earplugs), 41 LAW TEACHER: INT'L J. LEGAL EDUC. 314 (2007); available at:
  8. Laura Spitz, The Gift of Enron: An Opportunity to Talk About Capitalism, Equality and the Promise of a North American Charter of Fundamental Rights, 66 OHIO ST. L. J. 315 (2005); available at:
  9. Laura Spitz, I Think, Therefore I Am; I Feel, Therefore I Am Taxed: Descartes, Tort Reform, and the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act, 35 N.M. L. REV. 429 (2005); available at:
  10. Laura Spitz, At the Intersection of North American Free Trade and Same-Sex Marriage, 9 U.C.L.A. J. OF INT'L L. 163 (2004); available at:
  11. Ann Scales & Laura Spitz, The Jurisprudence of the Military Industrial Complex, 1 SEATTLE J. SOC. JUST. 541-565 (2003); available at:
  12. Isabel Grant & Laura Spitz, R. v. Parks: Automatism and Murder, 72 CAN. BAR. REV. 224 (1993); available at:
    • Cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada, R. v. Stone, [1999] 2 S.C.R. 290, at paras. 216-217, per Bastarache J.
    • Reprinted in Jennie Abell and Elizabeth Sheehy, eds., CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE: PROOF, DEFENSES AND BEYOND (Toronto: Captus Press, 1998 (2d) and 2003 (3d)).

Other Writing

  1. Laura Spitz, Red River, White Law, TRIBAL L. J. BLOG (June 19, 2019), available at
  2. Laura Spitz, Rendering Beings Human: The Law and the Human, CORNELL U. C. ARTS & SCI. PODCAST SERIES (Oct. 23, 2017), essay and podcast available at
  3. Laura Spitz, Book Review, Responsible Business: Self-governance and Law in Transnational Economic Transactions, 44 L. & SOC’Y REV. 413 (Olaf Dilling, Martin Herberg, and Gerd Winter eds., 2010).
  4. Laura Spitz, When Constitutions Collide: North American Free Trade, Economic Globalization and Transnational Integration (Jan. 2006) (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University).
  5. Laura Spitz, Perhaps Divided But Never Conquered: Taking Back Our Differences, N.A.W.L. Pub. (Toronto: 1994).
    • First Prize, Canadian National Association of Women and the Law 1993 National Research and Essay Competition.


  1. Brief of Amici Curiae Professors, Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. R. Scott Appling
    • (No. 16-1215, U.S. Supreme Court, March 29, 2018, 138 S.Ct. 1752), with Richard Aaron, Laura Bartell, Jagdeep S. Bhandari, Susan Block-Lieb, Vincent Buccola, Jessica Gabel Cino, Linda Coco, Laura Napoli Coordes, Robert, D’Agostino, Irina Fox, Bruce Grohsgal, George Kuney, Lois Pulica, Nancy B. Rapoport, Keith Sharfman, Michael Sousa and Adrien Walters, in support of Respondent; brief available at:; Supreme Court’s reasons aligning with the arguments set forth in our brief as to (a) petitioner's position generating absurd results and (b) legislative history.
  2. Brief of Amici Curiae Professors, Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp.
    • (No. 15-649, U. S. Supreme Court, October 17, 2016, 137 S.Ct. 973), with Jagdeep S. Bhandari, Susan Block-Lieb, Jessica Gabel Cino, Linda E. Coco, Robert, D’Agostino, Irma J. Fox, C. Scott Pryor, Theresa J. Pulley Radwan, Nancy B. Rapoport and Michael Sousa, in support of Respondents; brief available at:
  3. Brief of Amici Curiae Professors, Husky International Electronics Inc. v. Daniel Lee Ritz Jr.
  4. Factum of Intervenor, Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), M.v.H.
  5. Factum of Intervenor, Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Ferrel v. Ontario
  6. Factum of Intervenor, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Goertz v. Gordon
    • (No. 24622, Supreme Court of Canada, May 2, 1996; [1996] 2 SCR 27), member of subcommittee responsible for drafting the brief in support of the Appellant; brief available at:; Supreme Court’s reasons aligning with the arguments advanced by LEAF.

 Curriculum Vitae

Click here to download Laura Spitz's Curriculum Vitae.

Laura Spitz

Office: OM 4765 (Working from home Fall 2020)

  • Contracts (LAWF 3030)
  • Basic Tax Law (LAWF 3830)