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Scott R. Anderson

Fellow – Governance Studies, General Counsel and Senior Editor – Lawfare

Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he was previously a David M. Rubenstein Fellow. He is the General Counsel and a Senior Editor for Lawfare, as well as a senior fellow with the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School.

A former U.S. diplomat and government attorney, Anderson is an expert in foreign relations law, international law, and national security law and policy, particularly as they relate to the Middle East region. In addition to being a regular contributor to Lawfare and the Lawfare Podcast, he has written on related issues for numerous publications, including Defense One, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Texas National Security Review, The Hill, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on a range of national and international television and radio broadcasts, including Al Jazeera English, BBC, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, and his analysis and commentary have frequently been cited in the print media, including by the Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He has been a policy advisor for national political campaigns and has served as a consultant and expert witness in litigation matters. In addition, he has taught at both the Georgetown University Law Center and Columbia Law School.

Anderson previously served as an attorney-adviser for the U.S. Department of State and as the legal adviser for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. In these capacities, he advised policymakers on domestic and international legal issues relating to U.S. foreign and national security policy, most often in relation to the Middle East and North Africa. At various times, his portfolio included bilateral relations with Iraq, counter-Islamic State efforts in Iraq and Syria, diplomatic and sovereign immunity issues, the Persian Gulf region, select matters relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorism-related civil litigation, U.S. and international economic sanctions, and the Yemen conflict. He also helped to represent the Department in a number of litigation and international arbitration matters, including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Between his government service and joining the Brookings Institution, Anderson was a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and an International Affairs Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, in which capacity he was in residence at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Law School and resides with his family in Washington, D.C.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Courts & Law
    • Cybersecurity
    • Defense & Security
    • Presidency
    • U.S. Foreign Policy
    • U.S. Democracy
    • International Affairs
    • Middle East Policy
  • Current Positions

    • Fellow, The Brookings Institution
    • General Counsel and Senior Editor, Lawfare
    • Senior Fellow, National Security Law Program, Columbia Law School
  • Past Positions

    • David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
    • International Affairs Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
    • Research Fellow, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict
    • Associate of the International Security Program, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
    • Law Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • Attorney-Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
    • Embassy Legal Advisor, U.S. Embassy to the Republic of Iraq
  • Education

    • Juris Doctor (J.D.), Yale Law School
    • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), University of Virginia
  • Languages

    • Intermediate French
    • Basic Arabic
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