Jackman Law Building
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Tel.: 416-946-8208

Angela Fernandez is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, where she has been teaching contracts and legal history since 2004. She completed her LL.M. (2002) and J.S.D. (2007) at the Yale Law School. Her LL.B. and B.C.L. are from the Faculty of Law at McGill University, where she graduated from the National Program in 2000. She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2000-2001 for Justice Michel Bastarache. Professor Fernandez has had tenure since 2009 and was cross-appointed to the Department of History at the University of Toronto in 2015.

In 2017, Professor Fernandez became an Associate Editor of Book Reviews (Americas) for Law and History Review. She currently sits on the American Society of Legal History Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Animal Justice Canada and is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She was convener of a Working Group “Animals in the Law and Humanities” at the Jackman Humanities Institute of the University of Toronto from 2013-2017 and is currently part of the "Animal Law Lab" at the Faculty of Law.

Professor Fernandez discovered the original judgment roll in the (in)famous property law case Pierson v. Post, which was featured and commented on in "Forum, Pierson v. Post: Capturing New Facts about the Fox," 27 Law and History Review (2009): 145-94. The document has been made available via both a temporary exhibit and a permanent repository at the University of Toronto. She has completed and published a book on the foxhunting case in the Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society series: Pierson v. Post, the Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018). It uses the tools of local and social history, law and literature, and intellectual legal history to retell the history of this leading law school case.

The 1805 New York foxhunting case Pierson v. Post has long been used in American property law classrooms to introduce law students to the concept of first possession by asking how one establishes possession of a wild animal. In this book, Professor Angela Fernandez retells the history of the famous fox case, from its origins as a squabble between two wealthy young men on the South Fork of Long Island through its appeal to the New York Supreme Court and entry into legal treatises, law school casebooks, and law journal articles, where it still occupies a central place. Professor Fernandez argues that the dissent is best understood as an example of legal solemn foolery. Yet it has been treated by legal professionals, the lawyers of its day, and subsequent legal academics in such a serious way, demonstrating how the solemn and the silly can occupy two sides of the same coin in American legal history.

“A new generation of legal historians now has its leading essayist. Fernandez explodes the‘cases in context’ genre with essays ranging across literary, social and intellectual history. Sprightly, but with painstaking research and impressive learning, she discovers in a judge’s witticisms fresh insights into how lawyers and law professors distance themselves from the strife from which they profit.”

                                                                                                                                                             Daniel Ernst, Georgetown University

“Fernandez’ masterful book comprehensively reinterprets one of the great old chestnuts of American legal history. Her glittering prose and impressive research make this a must-read for historians, lawyers and anyone seeking to understand how the law worked and what it has come to mean.”

                                                                                                                                                               Gautham Rao, American University

 “In this splendid work of legal archaeology, Fernandez painstakingly reconstructs the strange career of Pierson v. Post, shining considerable light on the professional culture within which it has attained the status of a leading case. Deeply researched and beautifully crafted, this book is a major contribution to the field of legal history, prompting critical reflection on the ways and means by which conventional wisdom is constructed and reconstructed over time.”

                                                                                                                                                Susanna Blumenthal, University of Minnesota

B.A. - Philosophy, McGill University (1995)
M.A. - Philosophy, Queen’s University (1996)
LL.B. & B.C.L. - National Program, McGill University (2000)
LL.M. - Yale Law School (2002)
J.S.D. - Yale Law School (2007)
Academic appointments
Professor, Faculty of Law University of Toronto (2020 -- Present)
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law University of Toronto (2009 -- 2020)
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto (2004-2009)
Cross-Appointment (Non-Budgetary) to the Graduate Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto (2015 -- Present)
Selected publications

Pierson v. Post, the Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Angela Fernandez & Markus D. Dubber eds., Law Books in Action: Essays on the Anglo-American Legal Treatise (Oxford; Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing, 2012)

“Legal History as the History of Legal Texts” in Markus D. Dubber & Christopher Tomlins eds. Oxford Handbook of Legal History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 243-61

“Literary Play at the Inns of Court and Early Modern Legal Professionalization,” Legal History -- JOTWELL (The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)) (May 31, 2018) (reviewing Jessica Winston, Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581 (Oxford University Press, 2016))

Coke-Upon-Littleton of the Fist”: Law, Custom, and Complications, Legal History -- JOTWELL (The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)) (May 1, 2017) (reviewing Robert Deal, The Law of the Whale Hunt: Dispute Resolution, Property Law, and American Whalers, 1780-1880 (Cambridge University Press, 2016))

“Law and Literature for Legal Historians,” Legal History -- JOTWELL (March 22, 2016) (reviewing Greig Henderson, Creating Legal Worlds: Story and Style in a Culture of Argument (University of Toronto Press, 2015))

"Fuzzy Rules and Clear Enough Standards: The Uses and Abuses of Pierson v. Post," 63 University of Toronto Law Journal (2013): 97-125 (view PDF version) in Focus Feature "Foxes, Seals, Whales and the Rule of Capture: Animals in the Law and Legal History” 63 University of Toronto Law Journal (2013): 30-137 (view PDF of "Editor's Note")

“The Lost Record of Pierson v. Post, the Famous Fox Case," 27 Law & History Review (2009): 149-79. Featured and commented on in "Forum, Pierson v. Post: Capturing New Facts about the Fox," 27 Law and History Review (2009): 145-94

"Pierson v. Post: A Great Debate, James Kent, and the Project of Building a Learned Law for New York State," 34:2 Law and Social Inquiry (2009): 301-36

Research areas
Critical Legal Theory
Feminist Analysis of Law
Law and Literature
Legal History
Legal Process
Property Law