Law School: Harvard Law School, cum laude
College: University of Louisville, summa cum laude
Professor Vandevelde was part of a team representing the United States before the International Court of Justice in a case brought by Nicaragua. He wrote the argument on the Vandenberg Amendment, on which the United States prevailed. He also represented 4,000 claimants before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague in claims arising out of the Islamic Revolution. In private practice, his biggest case was a $30 million claim (which seemed like a lot more money in the 1980s than it does now) against a defendant represented by David Boies. Vandevelde also has served as an expert witness in several international arbitrations.
Vandevelde spent four years in private practice, three at a large Washington, D.C., law firm and one at a San Diego firm. His practice focused on the representation of Native American tribes and general litigation. He spent six years practicing international law at the State Department, including international litigation, international arbitration and treaty negotiations. He has written three books on international investment law and arbitration: “Bilateral Investment Treaties: History, Policy and Interpretation”; “U.S. International Investment Agreements”; and United States Investment Treaties: Policy and Practice.” He has written two other books: “Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning” and “A History of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.” During 2014, while on leave from the law school, he worked in Washington, D.C., at the White House as a policy analyst.
He is a law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he served as dean from 1994 to 2005, during which time the law school separated from Western State University, obtained ABA accreditation and converted to a nonprofit educational institution. Currently he teaches constitutional law, American legal history and international investment law and arbitration. He also serves as a pro bono consultant on international law to the United Nations and various other international organizations and foreign governments.
In recent years, Vandevelde has been active as a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He and his daughter, Jenny, have participated in three bike rides through Death Valley in which they raised a combined total of more than $30,000 for the foundation.
Vandevelde is a native of Kentucky, where he lived until the age of 22. He moved to Massachusetts to attend law school and then to Washington, D.C., where he met his wife, Lidia. When they were ready to start a family, they moved to San Diego. Their older daughter, Jenny, recently graduated from San Diego State and is a technical support specialist at Tandem Diabetes Care, which manufactures insulin pumps. Their younger daughter, Shelly, is a senior at Cal State San Marcos. They have two border collies, Striker and Sprite.