Ashley Deeks

Fast Facts

  • Member, U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Law
  • Member, board of editors, American Journal of International Law
  • Senior fellow, Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare
  • Senior contributor, Lawfare blog
  • Expertise on international law and litigation, national security law, terrorism

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Law and Justice

Ashley Deeks joined the University of Virginia Law School in 2012 after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School and is the E. James Kelly, Jr. - Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of international law, national security, intelligence, and the laws of war. She has written articles on the use of force, executive power, secret treaties, the intersection of national security and international law, and the laws of armed conflict. She is a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law and serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks also serves on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. She is the supervising editor for AJIL Unbound, and is a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare.

Before joining Columbia in 2010, Deeks served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor, where she worked on issues related to the law of armed conflict, the use of force, conventional weapons, and the legal framework for the conflict with al-Qaida. She also provided advice on intelligence issues. In previous positions at the State Department, Deeks advised on international law enforcement, extradition, and diplomatic property questions. In 2005, she served as the embassy legal advisor at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations. Deeks was a 2007–08 Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow and a visiting fellow in residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Deeks received her JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comment editor on the Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ashley Deeks News Feed

So what level of accountability exists for classified decisions made in the interest of national security? Professor Ashley Deeks of the University of Virginia School of Law explores the issue in her new paper, “Secret Reason-Giving,” which is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal.
Ashley Deeks UVA School of Law
A new Lawfare Institute e-book, "The United States and the Use of Force Against Iran,” is now available on Kindle. This compilation gathers in one place recent insight and analysis from our contributors on legal and policy issues related to potential U.S. military action against Iran. As tensions between Washington and Tehran escalate, these chapters—originally published as articles here on Lawfare—provide important context.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare