Ryan FortsonPh.D., J.D.

Photo of Ryan Fortson
Associate Professor
Justice Center
PSB 220D


  • 2001: J.D., Stanford Law School
  • 2000: Ph.D. (Political Science), University of Minnesota — Twin Cities


Dr. Ryan Fortson is an associate professor at the Justice Center, where he teaches undergraduate Legal Studies courses. He is also involved with the Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition and is a member of the Law Related Education Committee of the Alaska Bar Association. Dr. Fortson is on the Board of Directors of the Anchorage Bar Association and is a past president. He moved to Anchorage in the summer of 2001 to clerk for Chief Justice Dana Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court. Dr. Fortson graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1993, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 2000, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2001. He is the recipient of the prestigious Ben Walters' Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

See posts about Dr. Forston on the Justice Center blog.

Research Interests

  • Alaska Native law
  • Tribal courts
  • Family law
  • Jurisprudence and legal theory
  • Trial techniques
  • Evidence and discovery
  • Legal education outreach
  • Civil legal needs


"Lawyering Up: The Effects of Legal Counsel on Outcomes of Custody Determinations" by Ryan Fortson and Troy C Payne. UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy 22(1): 1–36 (Winter 2018).

"Conversations About Landlord Tenant Law in Alaska" (streaming video) by Ryan Fortson and Daniel Coons. (11 parts, 51 mins. total). Anchorage, AK: Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016.

“A Survey of Studies on Judicial Selection" by Ryan Fortson and Kristin S. Knudsen. Alaska Justice Forum 32(2–3): 1, 7–12 (Summer/Fall 2015).

"Advancing Tribal Court Criminal Jurisdiction in Alaska" by Ryan Fortson. Alaska Law Review 32(1): 93–152 (Jun 2015).

"Survey of Tribal Court Effectiveness Studies" by Ryan Fortson and Jacob A. Carbaugh. Alaska Justice Forum 31(3–4): 1, 15–20 (Fall 2014/Winter 2015).

"Current Issues Regarding Alaska Tribal Court Jurisdiction" by Ryan Fortson. Alaska Justice Forum 31(3–4): 14 (Fall 2014/Winter 2015).

"Key Acts and Cases for Alaska Tribal Court Jurisdiction" by Ryan Fortson. Alaska Justice Forum 31(3–4): 12–13 (Fall 2014/Winter 2015).

A College Student's Guide to Landlord/Tenant Relations in Alaska by Ryan Fortson. Anchorage, AK: Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014.

"NO MORE: Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault" (Powerpoint) by Ryan Fortson and Simona Gerdts. Slide presentation presented at U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK) Sexual Assault Review Board, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, 11 Apr 2014.

"Tribal Courts and Minor Consuming Alcohol Cases: Researching Recidivism and Responsiveness" (Powerpoint) by Ryan Fortson and Cory R. Lepage. Slide presentation presented at the Minor Consuming Alcohol (MCA) Conference, Anchorage, AK, 4 Apr 2014.

"Alaska Trial Court Case Filing Statistics, 2005–2012" by Ryan Fortson and Brad A. Myrstol. AJSAC Fact Sheet 13-04 (Apr 2013).

"Compass: Alaska's Poor Need Legal Help in Civil Cases" (opinion) by Ryan Fortson. Anchorage Daily News, 15 Jul 2013.

"Correcting the Harms of Slavery: Collective Liability, the Limited Prospects of Success for a Class Action Suit for Slavery Reparations, and the Reconceptualization of White Racial Identity" by Ryan Fortson. Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy 6(1): 71–127 (2004).

"Affirmative Action, The Bell Curve, and Law School Admissions" by Ryan Fortson. Seattle University Law Review 24: 1087–1149 (2001).

"Problems with Richard Posner's The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory" by Ryan Fortson. William Mitchell Law Review 27(4): 2345–2373 (2001).