I received my first legal education by my father, the legal philosopher Alessandro Giuliani (1925-1997). He lived accompanied by his insightful (and in academia still influential) logo-centric idea of the law which he based on the ‘other Aristotle’, the author not of the Organon, but of the Rhetoric, Politics and Ethics. Living at home meant being involved in an ongoing conversation about the natura rerum, the kairos, the verum ipsum factum and other ideas which only today I’m able to understand in full. What I really know of the law begins from there.

Then there were the dinner conversations with his colleagues and friends. I vividly remember his lifelong friends Michel Villey and Peter Stein, as well as others who were among the finest legal minds of that time. Almost naturally at University studied law, and determined not to be any less, I excelled.

My parents Rosalia and Alessandro (second from the right) next to a youthful-looking Peter Stein (first right) and other colleagues

At the end of my legal studies, however, I felt it inappropriate to follow the family path. It seemed too easy and that questioned my sense of integrity. Having received a formal instruction in violin, I started a musical career as a player and teacher.

My career grew with a competitive British Council Grant for the Arts to study in London violin with a world-class teacher and Analysis of Music at King’s College, London. Based on this expertise, I began creating an educational project for pupils without musical background, based both on philology (Leopold Mozart’s Treatise, 1756) and recent research in physiology.  As a form of dissemination, I established a journal under the patronage of Lord Yehudi Menuhin, promoting an approach which is today generally accepted. In retrospect, this experience taught me three essential lessons for legal-historical scholarship: to think in systems, to be careful with texts and sense of time.

When an hand injury put an end to my career in 1997 (the year my father passed away), I  resolved to enter academia. I wanted to recapture what I learned at home and make it usable again. With a letter of presentation from Lord Yehudi Menuhin I was accepted at the London School of Economics. I first entered a postgraduate course supervised by the British philosopher John Gray and then went on to Cambridge initially with Quentin Skinner. I gradually retraced an intellectual line that eventually developed in an extensive doctoral research on 16th c. theory of presumptions (PhD Cambridge 2007). During that time, Peter Stein, my father’s friend, would periodically invite me over to check on my work, and I always felt that someone was missing from those meetings.

Looking back, I realise I entered historical studies carrying with me with some broad philosophical questions that took time to fully comprehend. A feature of Alessandro Giuliani’s legacy is in having left a mark on a variety of disciplines: procedure, constitutional law, private law, economics, sociology (link): different disciplines that could be viewed from an overarching juristic point of view. To understand this view I pursued literally a ‘research’, which  left me with an interdisciplinary sense of adventure and some boldness in trespassing boundaries. 

None of the above would have been possible without the presence of my wife Caterina and the joy brought by our son Rubén (b. 2002), now freshman at Yale.

With Rubén, whale-watching in the Boston bay, Mass. (USA), Aug. 2009