Walter Effross

Professor of Law

Office: Room 478
Phone: 202-274-4210
E-mail: vCard


Walter Effross joined the faculty of the American University Washington College of Law after practicing commercial and computer law at two of the largest law firms in New Jersey. He teaches courses in Corporate Bankruptcy, E-Commerce Law & Drafting, Business Associations, Corporate Governance, Negotiable Instruments, and Sales & Secured Transactions.

An honors graduate of Princeton University, where he won the freshman and sophomore English prizes, Professor Effross graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Justice Daniel J. O'Hern of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. From 1991 to 1995 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. He was awarded the New Jersey State Bar Association's Service to the Bar Award in 1992 and its Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 1994.

Professor Effross is a member of the American Law Institute, a co-author of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Practice Manual, a former associate editor of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, and a member of the editorial boards of: the International Journal of Electronic Commerce; Internet Law and Regulation; and E-Commerce Law & Strategy. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Creditors' and Debtors' Rights and Section on Commercial and Related Consumer Law, and of the American Bar Association's Subcommittee on Electronic Commerce. He is a current member of the Executive Committee of the AALS's Section on Agency, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, and Unincorporated Associations.

Professor Effross's articles on intellectual property, privacy, e-commerce, and bankruptcy law have appeared in a wide range of periodicals and have won the Washington College of Law's Emalee C. Godsey Scholar Award and Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Research Award. Professor Effross has testified on electronic commerce issues and on Y2K issues before Congressional subcommittees; was the initiator and principal drafter of the ABA's Safeshopping.org website for online shopping strategies; and is the initiator and faculty advisor of the Washington College of Law's Social Enterprises Legal Society.

In 2013, Aspen published the second edition of Professor Effross's book, Corporate Governance: Principles and Practices, the first casebook devoted specifically to this topic. Its practical summaries, questions, and suggestions are addressed not only to students of law and business, but also to boards of directors, individual directors and officers, shareholders, stakeholders, and their counsel.

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Areas of Specialization

  • Business Associations / Corporations
  • Commercial and Related Consumer Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Bankruptcy / Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights
  • Internet and Computer Law
  • Social Entrepreneurship

Degrees & Universities

  • B.A., Princeton University
  • J.D., Harvard Law School

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

    • Walter Effross, Thwarting Ethical Violations With Web Site Disclaimers, Wash. L. Mag. (Feb. 2005).
    • Walter Effross & Paul R. Rice, Statute of Frauds, Notice, and the Parol Evidence Rule, in Electronic Evidence: Law and Practice (ABA Press 2005).
    • Walter Effross, Zen and the Art of Corporate Governance: Special Considerations in Counseling Spiritual/Religious Institutions, 1 Am. U. Bus. L. Br. 25 (2004).
    • Walter Effross, Owning Enlightenment: Proprietary Spirituality in the ‘New Age’ Marketplace, 51 Buff. L. Rev. 483 (Summer 2003). SSRN Link
    • Walter Effross, Open Secrets (Review of Steven Levy, “Crypto: When the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age”), Wash. Post Book World (Feb. 18, 2001).
    • Walter Effross, A Tight Scrape?: Bringing Online Aggregators to Account, 19:14 Banking & Financial Services Policy Report (2000).
    • Walter Effross, Zen and the Art of Operating Systems (Review of Neal Stephenson, "In the Beginning...Was the Command Line”), Wash. Post C11 (Mar. 8, 2000).
    • http://www.safeshopping.org (Initiator and principal drafter of ABA Web site that advises consumers on how to shop safely online, Launched Oct. 26, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, CDnow -- and Then,, Leg. Times (Aug. 9, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Cultural Differences from the Perspective of the ICC Arbitration System, in Dispute Resolution Conference Papers (IFCAI May 14, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Commercial Profiles vs. Suspect Classifications: Preparing, Preventing, and Parrying Public and Private Profiling, 1999 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 9 (1999).
    • Walter Effross, The Powers of the ICC International Court of Arbitration vis-à-vis Parties and Arbitrators, 612E Arbitration in the Next Decade 55 (1999).
    • Walter Effross, Logos, Links and Lending: Towards Standardized Privacy and Use Policies for Banking Web Sites, 24 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 747 (1999). SSRN Link
    • Walter Effross, Elusiveness and Evolution: Mass-Market Licenses Under Proposed U.C.C. Article 2B, in Ethics and Electronic Information in the Twenty-First Century (Purdue Univ. Press 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Remarks on the Report of the Consumer Electronic Payments Task Force, in Current Developments in Monetary and Financial Law, Vol. 1 (IMF 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Seamless Seaminess? Fake Nudes Are 'Cropping' Up Online, Mutlimedia & Web Strategist (Dec. 1998).
    • Walter Effross, The Case of the Cyber-Clueless, L. Times (Nov. 30, 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Kevin Kelly's Latest Brew, book review of Kevin Kelly's "New Rules for the New Economy", 3 J. Internet Banking & Com. (Nov. 1998).
    • Walter Effross, A Link Too Far, Corp. Counsel Mag., Intell. Prop. Supp. (Oct. 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Sex, Links and Videotapes, Multimedia & Web Strategist 3 (Sept. 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Legal Responsibilities of Virtual Storekeepers: Rules of the Road, N.Y. L.J. 55 (Aug. 17, 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Self-Defense and Common Sense in Cyberspace, J. Banking & Com. (June 1998).
    • Walter Effross, The Legal Architecture of Virtual Stores: World Wide Web Sites & the Uniform Commercial Code, 34 S.D. L. Rev. 1263 (Summer 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Consumers and Stored Value Cards: An Unhappy Marriage of Convenience?, 1 E-Money Mag. 1 (May 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Rewiring Regulations on Writings and Records, 3 BNA Elec. Com. & L. Rep. 542 (Apr. 29, 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Paper Chase, chapter on the television series, for Prime Time Law: Fictional Television as Legal Narrative (Robert M. Jarvis and Paul R. Joseph, eds., Carolina Academic Press, 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Bright Lines or Blurry Labels?: Interpreting the 'Fuzzy Logic' of Bankruptcy Law, 6 Am. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 141 (1998).
    • Walter Effross, Withdrawal of the Reference: Rights, Rules and Remedies for Unwelcomed Web-Linking, 49 S.C. L. Rev. 651 (1998).
    • Walter Effross, Notes on PKI and Digital Negotiability: Would the Cybercourier Carry Luggage?, 38 Jurimetics 385 (1998).
    • Walter Effross, Cyber-Banking Gains Currency -- And Interest, 49 S.C. L. Rev. 943 (1998).
    • Walter Effross, Personal Bankruptcy: A Legal Primer, N.J. State Bar Foundation (Aug., 1997).
    • Walter Effross, Stored-Value Card Regulations: Small Change?, Natl. L.J. , B5 (Apr. 28, 1997).
    • Walter Effross, Limited Copyright Protection for Videogame Levels, Multimedia & Web Strategist (Jan. 1997).
    • Walter Effross, Mechanisms, Mistakes, and Molasses: The Emerging Caselaw of Article 4A, 50 Consumer Fin. L.Q. Rep. 251 (1997).
    • Walter Effross, High-Tech Heroes, Virtual Villains, and Jacked-In Justice: Visions of Law and Lawyers in Cyberpunk Science Fiction, 45 Buff. L. Rev. 931 (1997).
    • Walter Effross, Putting the Cards Before the Purse?: Distinctions, Differences, and Dilemmas in the Regulation of Stored Value Card Systems, 65 UMKC L. Rev. 319 (1997).
    • Walter Effross, Privacy, Piracy, and Privatization: Fictional and Legal Approaches to the Electronic Future of Cash, 46 Am. U. L. Rev. 961 (1997).
    • Walter Effross, Wise Men’s Counters: Distinguishing Definitions of Insolvency, Am. Bankr. Inst. J. (Nov. 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Old Books and New Sciences: The Changing Standards of ‘Good Faith’, Am. Bankr. Inst. J. (Sept. 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Contact Through Internet Sufficient for Jurisdiction Over Nonresident, Computer L. Strategist (Aug. 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Vermont Microsystems: 2d Circuit Finds Trade Secret Misappropriation, Compuer L. Strategist (Aug. 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Supreme Court Solves ‘Banker’s Dilemma’, Am. Bankr. Inst. J. (Dec./Jan. 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Supreme Court Denies Discharge Where Creditors ‘Justifiably Rely’ on Fraudulent, Am. Bankr. Inst. U.S. Bull. (Nov. 30, 1995).
    • Walter Effross, Think Nationally, Act Locally: Confronting Bankruptcy’s ‘Solutions’, Bus. L. Today (Sept./Oct. 1995).
    • Walter Effross, Reverse, Play, Fast Forward: First Circuit Finds Menu Command Hierarchy Uncopyrightable, Computer L. Strategist (May 1995).
    • Walter Effross, Is the 'Manifesto' the Destiny of Software Protection?, Computer L. Strategist (Feb. 1995).
    • Walter Effross, Code Changes Will Cause New Legal Controversies, N.J. L.J. (Nov. 7, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Amendments Sweep Key Code Provisions, N.J. L.J. (Oct. 31, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Stripping Home Mortgage Liens in Chapter 13, N.J. L.J. Real Est. Supp. (Oct. 3, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, No More Bytes for Apple?: Copyright Suit is Rejected by 9th Circuit, Computer L. Strategist (Oct. 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Software-Patent Policy: No Fakes, No Surprises, N.J. L.J. Intell. Prop. Supp. (July 25, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Another Vote for Legislative History? New Justice Breyer's Bankruptcy Decisions, Am. Bankr. Inst. J. (July/Aug. 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Transmission' Fluid on the Information Highway, Computer L. Strategist (July 1994).
    • Walter Effross, 'Essential State Interest' in Regulating Foreclosure Upheld, N.J. L.J. Real Est. Supp. (June 27, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, The Swedeland Development Saga Continues, 137 N.J. L.J. 347 (May 23, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Adequate Protection Boosted for Prepetition Lenders, 137 N.J. L.J. 219 (May 16, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Fourth Circuit Ruling: Separating a Work From Its Derivatives, Computer L. Strategist (Apr. 1994).
    • Walter Effross, 5th Circuit: Software Infringes Copyright in Management Model, Computer L. Strategist (Mar. 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Proposals Set for Code Reform, N.J. L.J. (Jan. 17, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Counsel Connect: The Electronic Campfire, Am. Bankr. Inst. J. (Nov. 1993).
    • Walter Effross, Legal Risks in Software Protection, 134 N.J. L.J. 902 (July 12, 1993).
    • Walter Effross, Third Circuit's View on Isolating Deficiency Claims, N.J. L.J. (June 7, 1993).
    • Walter Effross, New Local [Bankruptcy] Rules Streamline Court Procedures, N.J. L.J. (Apr. 19, 1993).
    • Walter Effross, The Right to a Jury in Bankruptcy Court, N.J. L.J. (Mar. 1, 1993).
    • Walter Effross, The 'Broken Bench' of Bankruptcy Law, Harv. L. Bull. (Feb. 1993).
    • Walter Effross, Grammarians at the Gate: The Rehnquist Court's Evolving 'Plain Meaning' Approach to Bankruptcy Jurisprudence, 23 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1636 (1993).
    • Walter Effross, Computer Associates v. Altai: How Will the 'Golden Nugget' Test Pan Out?, 19 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 1 (1993).
    • Walter Effross, Reading, Writing and Rhetoric (Review of Richard Weisberg's "Poethics and Other Strategies of Law and Literature"), Bus. L. Today (Nov./Dec. 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Debtor's Interest in ERISA Plans Exempt from Estate, N.J. L.J. (July 6, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, The Toxic Risk and 'the Public Fisc', N.J. Law. (June 29, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, EPA Clarifies CERCLA Liability for Lenders, N.J. L.J. (June 8, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Trustee's Right to Object: Use It or Lose It!, N.J. L.J. (June 1, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Supremes Endorse 'Date of Honor' Check Rule, N.J. L.J. (May 4, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Software-Related Patent is OK'd: Federal Circuit Holds Use of Algorithm Not Fatal, Computer L. Strategist (Apr. 1992).
    • Walter Effross, 3d Cir: Consultants Can Keep Software Rights, N.J. L.J. (Mar. 16, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Debtors Stripped of 3d Cir. Right to Strip Liens, N.J. L.J. (Mar. 2, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, A Chip Off the Old Building Blocks: Original 'Architecture' Protected as Trade Secret, Computer L. Strategist (Mar. 1, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, , Computer L. Strategist (Mar. 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Reevaluating Conflicts of Interest Under BH&P, N.J. Law. (Feb. 3, 1992).
    • Walter Effross, CCNV v. Reid Applied: Third Circuit Holds Consultant Owns Copyright, Computer L. Strategist (Feb. 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Texas Instruments Case Analyzed: Proprietary Programs' 'Secret' Status Preserved by Proper Procedures, Computer L. Strategist (Jan. 1992).
    • Walter Effross, Personal Computers, Personal Time: The 8th Circuit's Employee- Developed Software Case, Computer L. Strategist (Nov. 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Actual vs. Apparent Influence: Towards a Standard for Lenders' CERCLA Liability, N.J. Law. (Nov./Dec. 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Foreclosing Fraudulent Conveyances, N.J. L.J. (Oct. 24, 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Box-Top License Limitations: 3d Circuit Limits 'Acceptance by Opening, Computer L. Strategist (Sept. 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Kroh Brothers: The New Value Defense and the Third Man Theme, Norton Bankr. L. Adviser (Sept. 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Software a UCC Good, Not Service, N.J. L.J. (Mar. 21, 1991).
    • Walter Effross, Deprizio's Honor: Lenders, Insider Guarantors and the Prisoners' Dilemma, 21 Seton Hall L. Rev. 774 (1991).
    • Walter Effross, Broad View of Conflict Limits Choice of Counsel, N.J. L.J. (Nov. 1, 1990).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Duties Not to Disclose, Dissent, or Disgrace: Cleaning Up After Leakers, Muddiers and Stainers Under the Restatement (Third) of Agency (Paper presented at the program of the Section on Agency, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, and Unincorporated Associations Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, N.Y.C., N.Y., Jan. 2008).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Four Proposals for Clarity in Online Contracting (“Contracting by Shrinkwrap and Clickwrap,” E-Consumer Issues and Regulations in the Next Decade Program, ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, Wash., D.C., Mar. 16, 2007).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Fiduciary Duties, Secrecy, and Cybersecurity (Emerging Issues in National and International Security, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Mar. 20, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, Emerging Issues in National and International Security (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Mar. 20, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, Dispelling ‘Initial Interest’– and Other– Confusion Concerning Trademark Infringement by Search Engines (Pike & Fischer (Bureau of National Affairs), Teleconference "The Emerging Law of Search Engines: Are Your Trademarks, Copyrights & Privacy at Risk, Mar. 15, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, Everyone Out of the Pool?: Undercurrents, Cross-Currents and Riptides of Deepening Insolvency' Action (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Feb. 10, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, 50 Elements of Ethical and Effective Web Sites for Law Firms (Wash., D.C., Jan. 18, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, 50 Tips for Ethical and Effective Web Sites for Lawyers and Law Firms (District of Columbia Bar Continuing Legal Education Program, Wash., D.C., Jan. 18, 2006).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, Ten Ways to Protect Intellectual Property When Drafting E-Commerce Agreements (District of Columbia Bar Continuing Legal Education Program, Wash., D.C., Sept. 20, 2005).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, An Insolvency Itinerary: Bankruptcy Jurisdiction, Referral, Withdrawal, Removal, Remand and Abstention in the Third Circuit (Seventh Annual Hon. William H. Gindin Bankruptcy Bench-Bar Conference, East Brunswick, N.J., Apr. 1, 2005).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, 50 Tips for Ethical and Effective Web Sites for Lawyers and Law Firms (District of Columbia Bar Continuing Legal Education Program, Wash., D.C., Feb. 9, 2005).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, Ten Ways to Protect Intellectual Property When Drafting E-Commerce Agreements (District of Columbia Bar Continuing Legal Education Program, Wash., D.C., Nov. 3, 2004).
    • Walter Effross, Panel Discussion, Bursting the Bubble on Internet Pop-Up Ads? (District of Columbia Bar-Intellectual Property Law Section, Wash., D.C., Feb. 18, 2004).
    • Walter Effross, Speech, In Medias Res: Correcting and Preventing Journalists (and Public) Misconceptions About Bankruptcy (Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference, Phila., Pa., May 21, 2003).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Customer Data and the Bankruptcy Process: After Toysmart, It’s Not Just a Game Any More (Business Bankruptcy Committee- ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, Phila., Pa., Mar. 22, 2001).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Electronic Estates, Cyber-Consumers and DotCom Dilemmas: 15 E-Merging Tools, Traps and Techniques for Bankruptcy Counsel (Presentation to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference, Phila., Pa., Nov. 2, 2000).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Fencing Off Cyberspace— and Fending Off Democracy? (Testimony and written materials presented to the Democracy Online Project, Wash., D.C., May 22, 2000).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Trust Virtually No One, or Trust No One Virtually?: Legal Aspects of E-Commerce (International Monetary Fund’s Seminar on Current Issues in Monetary and Financial Law, Wash., D.C., May 12, 2000).
    • Walter Effross, Keynote Speech, Minimal Promises, Virtual Premises, Evolving Practices: Issues in Electronic Banking (Chief Counsel's Regulatory Conference Office of Thrift Supervision Arlington, Va., Apr. 27, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, 2B, 2B II --- Strangers in the Night? Consumer Protection in Information Licensing (Presentation to the National Association of Attorneys General's Spring Consumer Protection Seminar, Wash., D.C., Apr. 27, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Testimony, Electronic Commerce (Before House Committee on Science’s Subcommittee on Technology, Wash., D.C., Mar. 9, 1999).
    • Walter Effross, Testimony, Electronic Commerce (before the House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Wash., D.C., June 25, 1998).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Going Concern Concerns and Fair Fair Market Values: Contexts and Methods for the Valuation of Businesses in Bankruptcy (Fourth Annual New Jersey Bench/Bar Bankruptcy Conference, New Brunswick, N.J., Apr. 12, 1996).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Federal Securities Laws and the Bankruptcy Code: Claims Trading and Vulture Investing in Bankruptcy (Third Annual New Jersey Bench/Bar Bankruptcy Conference, Princeton, N.J., Apr. 21, 1995).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Hackers at the Seamless Web: The Emerging Law and Literature of Cyberspace (Seton Hall Law Review Symposium: "Traveling the Information Superhighway: Communications Law & Regulation in the 21st Century," Newark, N.J., Nov. 17, 1994).
    • Walter Effross, Presentation, Eggs, Apples, and Statutory Recipes: Preserving Tax Certificates in Bankruptcy Proceedings (Second Annual New Jersey Bench/Bar Bankruptcy Conference, Princeton, N.J., Apr. 29, 1994).
  • + Selected Honors & Awards

    • Walter Effross Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Research Award ( Jan. 2005) ().
    • Walter Effross Emalee C. Godsey Scholar Award ( Mar.1999) ().