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Robert D. Williams, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution

Robert D. Williams

Nonresident Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center

Robert D. Williams is a nonresident fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings. He is a senior research scholar, lecturer, and executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. He focuses on U.S.-China relations and Chinese law and policy, with interests at the intersection of technology and national security. He is also a lecturer at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a contributing editor at Lawfare.

At Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, Williams has worked on a broad range of projects related to U.S.-China relations and Chinese legal reform. His work on U.S.-China relations involves Track II and Track 1.5 dialogues, research, and teaching on a variety of subjects including cybersecurity and technology governance; the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific regional security; and bilateral investment and trade policy. He has taught courses at Yale on the legal dimensions of U.S.-China relations.

In the legal reform area, Williams has worked with Chinese counterparts on judicial reform, including judicial professionalism, transparency, and administrative litigation; regulatory reform, including food and drug safety; administrative law and governance, including government lawyering; and criminal justice reform, including alternatives to incarceration.

Williams received a bachelors from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Harvard National Security Journal and director of Harvard’s National Security Research Committee. Following law school, he clerked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and for Judge E. Grady Jolly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was an attorney in private practice before joining Yale and has also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State.

Prior to law school, Williams taught at Shandong University in Weihai, China and held positions at a research consulting firm focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s China Program, and at the Institute of International Finance.

Robert D. Williams is a nonresident fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings. He is a senior research scholar, lecturer, and executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. He focuses on U.S.-China relations and Chinese law and policy, with interests at the intersection of technology and national security. He is also a lecturer at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a contributing editor at Lawfare.

At Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, Williams has worked on a broad range of projects related to U.S.-China relations and Chinese legal reform. His work on U.S.-China relations involves Track II and Track 1.5 dialogues, research, and teaching on a variety of subjects including cybersecurity and technology governance; the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific regional security; and bilateral investment and trade policy. He has taught courses at Yale on the legal dimensions of U.S.-China relations.

In the legal reform area, Williams has worked with Chinese counterparts on judicial reform, including judicial professionalism, transparency, and administrative litigation; regulatory reform, including food and drug safety; administrative law and governance, including government lawyering; and criminal justice reform, including alternatives to incarceration.

Williams received a bachelors from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Harvard National Security Journal and director of Harvard’s National Security Research Committee. Following law school, he clerked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and for Judge E. Grady Jolly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was an attorney in private practice before joining Yale and has also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State.

Prior to law school, Williams taught at Shandong University in Weihai, China and held positions at a research consulting firm focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s China Program, and at the Institute of International Finance.

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