Karl Riesenhuber studied law at the Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He clerked at the Court of Berlin and worked at the University of Potsdam prior to receiving his doctorate in 1997. His thesis, titled “Die Rechtsbeziehungen zwischen Nebenparteien”(“The Legal Relationship Between Collateral Parties”) won the Wolf Rüdiger Bub-Prize. He was a Feodor Lynen fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, research fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft(German Research Fund) and visiting scholar at Wolfson College, Cambridge.
In 2002, he received his Habilitation(post-doctoral-degree) from the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg Faculty of Law with a thesis titled “System und Prinzipien des Europäischen Vertragsrechts” (System and Principles of European Contract Law).
He was assistant lecturer at the University of Cambridge School of Law and official fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge from 2000-2001. In 2002 became visiting professor, subsequently in 2004 full professor at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), focusing on intellectual property and media law and comparative law. In 2006 he was appointed professor of civil law, German and European trade and business law at Ruhr-University Bochum where he also established the Ruhr Academy of European Private Law. In 2007-2008 and 2010-2011, Riesenhuber conducted research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is the author of several books on EU-Contract Law and European Labour Law. He edited and co-authored numerous conference proceedings.