Donald J. Polden

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law


Professor Polden served as Dean of Santa Clara University School of Law from 2003 to 2013.  In addition to his service as dean, he is a well-known scholar in the areas of employment law and legal education and has practiced law, principally in the areas of federal antitrust law and employment law, in the federal and state courts.  Professor Polden has participated in antitrust cases in the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court, and has argued cases involving claims of price-fixing, monopolization, and attempts to monopolize before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is co-author (with U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett) of Employment Relationships: Law and Practice, published by Aspen Publishing Company. He also is the author of several law review articles on topics of federal antitrust and securities law and legal education. His 1989 article on standing to sue in private antitrust litigation was cited by the United States Supreme Court.

Previously to being appointed as Santa Clara Law’s Dean, Polden served as Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Memphis (1993-2003) where he taught courses in corporate law, antitrust law, federal securities regulation and employment law. In addition, he served as Associate Dean (1991-1993) and Professor of Law (1976-1993) at Drake University School of Law.

At Santa Clara University School of Law, Dean Emeritus and Professor Polden was instrumental in developing the curriculum for leadership education, a movement that is growing in significance in American legal education. He also served as chair from 2009 to 2012 of the American Bar Association’s Standards Review Committee that is charged with revising the accreditation policies for American legal education.  He was elected to membership in the American Law Institute in 1992, selected for membership in the College of Law and Employment Lawyers and serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics at Santa Clara Universtiy.  In 2013-14, Professor Polden will serve as a Visiting Legal Scholar at the Center for Creative Leadership.


J.D., cum laude, Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, 1975

B.B.A., George Washington University, 1970

Areas of Specialization

Corporations Law, Employment Law, Antitrust Law, Securities Regulation



Employment Relationships: Law and Practice with Bennett and Rubin. Aspen Law & Business (1998-) (Updated annually) | Link to Library Catalog

Regulation of Unfair Competition: Cases and Materials. Drake University Law School (1978) | Link to Library Catalog


Key Strategies to Enhance a Dean's Effectiveness in Law School Leadership Strategies: Top Deans on Benchmarking Success, Incorporating Feedback from Faculty and Students, and Building the Endowment. Aspatore Books (2006) | Link to Library Catalog

Judicial Education and the Law Schools in Education for Development: The Voices of Practitioners in the Judiciary. Claxton and Ochsman, editors. Judicial Education Reference, Information and Technical Transfer Project (1995) | Link to Library Catalog

Corporations and the Law in Encyclopedia of the American Judicial System: Studies of the Principal Institutions and Process of Law. Janosik, editor. Scribner (1987) | Link to Library Catalog


Leadership Matters: Lawyers' Leadership Skills and Competencies, 52 Santa Clara Law Review 899-919 (2012) | Link to Digital Commons

Symposium on Leadership Education for Lawyers and Law Students, 52 Santa Clara Law Review 685-688 (2012) | Link to Digital Commons

Educating Law Students for Leadership Roles and Responsibilities, 39 Toledo Law Review 353-360 (2008) | Link to Digital Commons

Forty Years After Title VII: Creating an Atmosphere Conducive to Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom, (Civil Rights Anniversary Symposium), 36 University of Memphis Law Review 67-91 (2005) | Link to Digital Commons

Planning and Decision-Making for Law School Information Technology, 18 Santa Clara Computer and High-Technology Law Journal 259-273 (2002) | Link to Digital Commons

Drawing the Appropriate Statute of Limitations in Implied Causes of Action Under Rule 10b-5: A General Framework of Familiar Legal Principles, 40 Drake Law Review 221-254 (1991) | Link to Digital Commons

Antitrust Standing and the Rule Against Resale Price Maintenance, 37 Cleveland State Law Review 179-226 (1989) | Link to Digital Commons

The Antitrust Implications of Credit Insurance Tying Arrangements, 32 Drake Law Review 861-912 (1983) | Link to Digital Commons

Contribution and Claim Reduction in Antitrust Litigation: A Legislative Analysis, with Sullivan, 20 Harvard Journal on Legislation 397-439 (1983) | Link to Digital Commons

Intrabrand Territorial Allocations and the Per Se Rule, with Calkins, 30 Drake Law Review 1-37 (1981) | Link to Digital Commons

Other Articles

Building the Future, 18 Santa Clara Law 22-23 (Spring/Summer 2012) | Link to Full Text

Remembering Mary Emery: Reflections on the "Real Dean", 18 Santa Clara Law 4-5 (Winter 2012) | Link to Full Text

A Century of Leadership and Service: Contributions of the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal, A Preface, 27 Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal 1-2 (2011) | Link to Digital Commons

Comprehensive Review of American Bar Association Law School Accreditation Policies and Procedures: A Summary, 79 Bar Examiner 42-49 (February 2010) | Link to Full Text

Educating Law Students for Leadership, 3 The Complete Lawyer ___ (October 2007) (online journal)

Introduction--Law and Literature: A Collection of Essays on John Grisham's The Rainmaker, 26 University of Memphis Law Review 1251-1256 (1996) | Link to Digital Commons

Foreword: Scholarship and Legal Education, 24 Memphis State Law Review 1-5 (1993) | Link to Digital Commons

Currently Teaching:

Spring 2015
Fall 2014


Mon & Wed