Bethany Berger, expert in Indian and Property Law, joins Iowa Law School faculty
Friday, June 14, 2024

The Iowa Law School is pleased to welcome Professor Bethany Berger—one of the nation’s foremost experts in federal Indian Law, widely read scholar of Property Law, and legal historian—to its faculty. Berger will begin her appointment as Alan D. Vestal Professor of Law in August 2024.

Bethany Berger Headshot

Berger’s appointment augments Iowa Law’s burgeoning reputation as a center of Indian Law scholarship and teaching. She is co-author of American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary, the leading casebook in American Indian Law, as well as co-author and Editorial Board member of the foundational treatise in the field, Felix S. Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law. She has served several appointments at Harvard Law School as the visiting Oneida Indian Nation Professor. From 2005-2011, she served as Judge for the Southwest Inter-Tribal Court of Appeals, which covered several tribes in the southwestern United States.

Berger, who is presently the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, is also co-author of Property Law: Rules, Policies, and Practices, the primary casebook in the field of Property Law.

Berger’s articles, book chapters, and other writings have appeared in the Michigan Law Review, California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Duke Law Journal, among numerous other publications. Her work has been excerpted and discussed in many casebooks and edited collections, as well as in briefs to the Supreme Court and testimony before Congress. She has given more than 120 invited presentations at law schools, universities, conferences, and symposia nationwide. She was elected to membership of the American Law Institute in 2014.

Berger earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1996, having graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Wesleyan University in 1990. She began her professional academic career at the Connecticut School of Law before joining the Wayne State University Law School. In 2006, she returned to the Connecticut School of Law in her current position.

Berger is not a stranger to Iowa Law, having completed a visiting professorship there in 2005. 

“I am thrilled to join the stellar Iowa faculty,” Berger said. “I’ve admired its collegial and interdisciplinary strengths since I visited the law school all the way back in 2005, and I’m excited to see the ways that new faculty have built on those strengths.”

Prior to her academic career, Berger served the Navajo and Hopi Nations as Director of the Native American Youth Law Project of DNA-People’s Legal Services, where she conducted litigation challenging discrimination against Indian children, drafted and secured the passage of tribal laws affecting children, and helped to create a Navajo alternative-to-detention program. She was also Managing Attorney of Advocates for Children of New York, where she worked on impact litigation and policy reform concerning the rights of children in public education.