The University of Iowa
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Paul Gowder

Paul Gowder
Professor and O.K. Patton Fellow in Law

Paul Gowder teaches constitutional law and torts, and he also taught professional responsibility and the policy lab. His research spans a broad territory in constitutional law, legal data science, ethics, normative and conceptual jurisprudence, political philosophy, democratic theory, and game theory.

Gowder recently published his first book, The Rule of Law in the Real World (Cambridge University Press, February 2016). The Rule of Law in the Real World draws on philosophical argument, historical research into the law in societies as diverse as seventeenth-century England and classical Athens, and political science tools such as statistics, simulation, and formal modeling, all directed at the overall end of making sense of the idea of government under law in real-world societies, and its relationship to social equality.

Currently, he is continuing his rule of law research, but also branching out into (1) democratic theory and the relationship between causation and popular sovereignty, and (2) the impact of machine learning and predictive modeling on both the practice and the concept of law. Other research topics past and future include free speech, cyberlaw, the countermajoritarian difficulty and popular constitutionalism, and conceptions of liberty.

In his practice days, Gowder was a public interest litigator.  He has practiced employment, consumer, landlord-tenant, public benefits, and family law with a low-income legal services organization in Ontario, Oregon. He has also practiced civil rights, employment discrimination, and police misconduct law in Alexandria, Virginia.


BA, California State University, 1997

JD, Harvard Law School, 2000

PhD in Political Science, Stanford University, 2012