Mark Osiel's writings have inspired several conferences and are assigned at many leading universities in North America and Europe, in a number of fields. His scholarship seeks to show how legal responses to mass atrocity can be improved by understanding its organizational dynamics, as revealed through comparative social and historical analysis. His books include Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory & the Law (1997), Obeying Orders: Atrocity, Military Discipline, and the Law of War (1999), Mass Atrocity, Ordinary Evil, and Hannah Arendt: Criminal Consciousness in Argentina's Dirty War (Yale Univ. Press, 2002), Making Sense of Mass Atrocity (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009), and The End of Reciprocity: Terror, Torture & the Law of War (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009).
Osiel has spoken at the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the U.S war colleges. He served as consultant to prosecutors of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and of perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. He regularly advises international organizations and governments in post-conflict societies on issues of transitional justice. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, California Law Review, Pennsylvania Law Review, Human Rights Quarterly, Law & Social Inquiry, and Representations, among others.
Osiel has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the London School of Economics, plus universities in Argentina, Brazil, France, The Netherlands, and India (as a Fulbright Lecturer). His courses include International Criminal/Humanitarian Law, Remedies, International Law, as well as seminars on Transitional Justice and on The Law of Armed Conflict.
His current research assesses the place of lawyers in the emerging global economy, particularly the ingenuity by which they overcome legal obstacles to large cross-border transactions. This work examines how countries retain their distinctive legal traditions (and the values these may embody) in the face of globalizing pressures. The study is based on interviews with over 300 of the world's leading practitioners of international finance law.
After accepting a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Prof. Osiel practiced for two years at Foley, Hoag & Eliot, a large private law firm in Boston. Before law school, he worked as a Head Start counselor and as a paramedic in Guatemala.