Faculty Spotlight: Tomer Stein, Assistant Professor of Law and Wilkinson Research Professor

Tomer Stein was headed for a PhD program in philosophy when he changed course to attend law school. “At the time, I wanted to go in a more practical direction,” Stein says. From there, business law drew his attention. “It’s a very commercial field that requires balancing the needs and wants of many different individuals. I fell in love with the practice of corporate law—but the academic bug never left me.” 

After practicing law in New York City for several years, Stein joined the University of Tennessee College of Law faculty in 2023 as an assistant professor, and he recently was named the Wilkinson Research Professor, an annual award and title bestowed upon a junior faculty member for excellence in research. The college’s commitment to a balance of teaching and scholarship was part of what attracted Stein. “I believe you cannot be an effective teacher if you’re not an effective scholar — and vice versa,” he says. “Teaching and research should inform each other.”  

Stein’s research considers how to understand and improve corporate governance in various ways. For example, one of his articles combines corporate law and finance, looking at the role of debt financing in corporate governance. Another one of his articles, forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review, articulates a new theory for understanding judicial review in corporate disputes. Stein stays ahead of new developments around corporate law and governance, such as the recent and infamous Moelis case in Delaware about how much decision-making power shareholders should have. “I quickly posted an article on that case and the theory that stands behind it, and I was able to make immediate impact,” Stein says. 

As an educator, Stein enjoys bringing firsthand knowledge of corporate law matters to students in the classroom. He teaches a series of three core classes on contracts, business associations, and mergers and acquisitions. “Teaching on these topics is rewarding because I work in these fields, and can pull from my experiences,” he says. “I love getting to train the next generation of business lawyers.” 

In addition to his work at the College of Law, Stein serves as a research fellow in the Neel Corporate Governance Center and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Haslam College of Business. On a national level, Stein serves Executive Committee of the American Association of Law Schools’ Section on Business Associations. His research publications have appeared or are forthcoming in law journals including the Washington University Law Review, Utah Law Review, Arizona State Law Journal, and the Hastings Law Journal, and his works have been featured in popular law and finance media such as ProMarket and the Blue Sky Blog. 

Stein appreciates the warm welcome he’s received since relocating to East Tennessee. “The College of Law community and the local legal community have welcomed me with open arms,” he says. “It’s been wonderful.”