Since joining the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 1983, John Conley's principal research and teaching interests have been in law and social science, and intellectual property law.
After serving as a scuba diver with the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, Conley received his J.D. in 1977 and a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1980 from Duke University. He was editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal and was elected to The Order of the Coif. He practiced law in Boston and in Charlotte, N.C., for six years, specializing in civil litigation. He also served as an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School.