Hamilton graduated from Colorado College with his B.A. (cum laude) in 1967. In 1970 he earned his J.D. (magna cum laude) from the University of Minnesota Law School. He received his M.A. in Economics (Industrial Organizations) from the University of Michigan in 1979.
Neil worked at Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, Minneapolis as an associate attorney in 1970-1971 and at Krieg, Devault, Alexander & Capehart, Indianapolis as an associate attorney in 1971-1972. He was a visiting professor of law and fellow at International Legal Center of Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia from 1972 till 1974. The he was an assistant professor of law at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland between 1977 and 1980. From 1980-2001, he served as Trustees Professor of Regulatory Policy at William Mitchell College of Law. Hamilton also served at Midwest Corporate Counsel Center as president and executive director in 1985-1990.
Neil has been a member of American Law Institute, American Association of University Professors, National Academy of Sciences, American Civil Liberties Union, Phi Beta Kappa, Coif.
Neil married Jana Uve Baltins, on May 3, 1969. The couple has three children, Sheen, Maya, Kyra.