William W. Clayton

Francis R. Kirkham Associate Professor of Law

William Clayton is a business law scholar. His research focuses on contracts, securities law, and organizational law, with a particular emphasis on private equity and private investment funds. Before joining the BYU Law faculty in 2018, he worked as a corporate attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City, and he was the Executive Director of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law. His scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in journals including the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Yale Journal on Regulation, and the Harvard Business Law Review, and his work has been selected for republication in the Corporate Practice Commentator and the Securities Law Review anthologies. Professor Clayton has been invited to present his research to the SEC's Division of Investment Management and Division of Economic and Risk Analysis in connection with recent private fund policy initiatives, and he is a contributing author to a forthcoming Elgar Research Handbook on the structure of private equity and venture capital.

Professor Clayton teaches courses on contracts, business organizations, and corporate finance. He is also the founding director of the BYU Law Deals Academy, an annual transactional law program in New York City for first-year BYU Law students. BYU Law's first travel academy, the Deals Academy has served as an early model for the law school's broader academy program, which has grown to include nine academies and was rated among the top 10 national law school programs for "Innovation and Pedagogy" by Bloomberg Law in 2023.

Professor Clayton holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Courses Taught

  • Business Organizations
  • Contracts
  • Corporate Finance


  • J.D., Yale Law School
  • M.B.A., Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • B.A., Stanford University
  • “Private Equity Fund Bargaining: What We Know (and Don’t Know)” in Research Handbook on the Structure of Private Equity and Venture Capital (forthcoming Edward Elgar) (Brian Broughman & Elisabeth de Fontenay eds.)
  • High-End Securities Regulation, 14 Harvard Business Law Review (forthcoming 2023)
  • High-End Bargaining Problems, 75 Vanderbilt Law Review 703 (2022)
  • How Public Pension Plans Have Shaped Private Equity, 81 Maryland Law Review 840 (2022)
    -Selected for reprint in the Securities Law Review and Corporate Practice Commentator
  • Public Investors, Private Funds, and State Law, 72 Baylor Law Review 294 (2020)
  • The Private Equity Negotiation Myth, 37 Yale Journal on Regulation 67 (2020)
  • Preferential Treatment and the Rise of Individualized Investing in Private Equity, 11 Virginia Law & Business Review 249 (2017)