Jonathan C. Carlson

Professor of Law and International Studies
Victor & Carol Alvarez Fellow in Law

An honors graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law, where he served as topics and comments editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, Professor Carlson began his legal career clerking for Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Thereafter, he entered private practice with the Washington, DC law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow and served as an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America School of Law. 

Professor Carlson joined the faculty of the College of Law in 1983. He frequently lectures abroad, and in fall 2006 he served as the Fullbright/FLAD Distinguished Chair in International Commercial Trade and Business Law at Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon.

He is the author of several law review articles and is a co-author of International Environmental Law and World Order: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook and co-editor of International Law and World Order: Basic Documents (Transnational Publishers, 5 vols., 1994--present).

His publications also include: "Reflections on a Problem of Climate Justice: Climate Change and the Rights of States in a Minimalist International Legal Order," 18 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems. 45 (2009), “Reining in Phaëthon’s Chariot: Principles for the Governance of Geoengineering,” 21 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems (2012), and  "International Environmental Law, Climate Change, and Intergenerational Justice" in Recalibrating the Laws of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice, Appendix A, Background Paper No. 8 (Vermont Law School; The University of Iowa 2009).  

Professor Carlson serves on the advisory committee of the UI Center for the Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.  Recently, he has focused on important water issues. See Jonathan Carlson, Pattison’s bid to export Iowa groundwater in bulk: a local controversy with national implications, IGWA Underground (Summer 2020) (Iowa Groundwater Association). 

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Research and Teaching: 

  • International Trade
  • Commercial Law
  • International Environmental Law 
  • Law of Global Climate Change


  • Iowa Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar


Jonathan Carlson (1)
BA, McGill University, 1976
JD, University of Chicago, 1979