Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Roman J. Hoyos

Roman J. Hoyos

Professor of Law

(On Leave, Spring 2017)

A.B., History, 1993, University of California, Berkeley; J.D., 2001, Northwestern University; M.A. History, 2003, and Ph.D., American History, 2010, University of Chicago; Member, California State Bar

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6821
Office: BW347


Roman Hoyos is primarily interested in the relationships between law, democracy, and the state in American history.  Originally interested in 20th-century American cultural history, law school made him realize that he was a legal historian, and that the 19th century was where the most interesting questions involving law’s relationship to democracy were to be explored.  He would go on to receive his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago, focusing on 19th century legal history.

"I want to ensure my students understand that law is an instrument of power that should be deployed carefully and thoughtfully, and so to approach the legal questions they'll face with a certain sense of humility."

Professor Hoyos is in the process of completing his book “In Convention Assembled: Law and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America.”  The book explores the intellectual, ideological, and institutional role that constitutional conventions played in moderating the relationship between law and democracy in the nineteenth century.  In particular, it explores how changes in the ways Americans understood the relationship between the convention and “the people” contributed to the formation of the modern American state.  In addition to working on his book, Professor Hoyos has published several book chapters and articles on American legal and constitutional history.  

Prior to coming to Southwestern, Professor Hoyos taught at Duke University Law School as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 2008-2010.  At Southwestern, Professor Hoyos teaches in the areas of property and government.  As a teacher, he enjoys witnessing “The ‘Aha! Moment’ - that moment when you see a student truly grasp the material for the first time, and then apply it in some unexpected way.” He strives to ensure that his students “understand that law is an instrument of power that should be deployed carefully and thoughtfully, and so to approach the legal questions they'll face with a certain sense of humility.”

Professor Hoyos is the Book Reviews Editor of the American Journal of Legal History, a Contributing Editor for the Legal History Section of the online review journal JOTWeLL (Journal Of Things We Like Lots), and a board member of the California State Supreme Court Historical Society. While in law school, Professor Hoyos served as the Special Sections Editor for Law Review. Following law school Professor Hoyos practiced law briefly at Rosen, Bien & Asaro (now Rosen, Bien & Galvan), a small civil rights firm in San Francisco that specializes in prisoner rights and attorney fees litigation, before returning to school to get his doctorate.



Books and Chapters


Playing on a New Field: The U.S. Supreme Court in Reconstruction in A COMPANION TO THE PRESIDENTS OF THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA, 1865-1881 (E. Frantz, ed.; Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

Peaceful Revolution and Popular Sovereignty: Reassessing the Constitutionality of Southern Secession in SIGNPOSTS: NEW DIRECTIONS IN SOUTHERN LEGAL HISTORY (S. Hadden and P. Minter, eds.; University of Georgia Press, 2013)

Beyond Classical Legal Thought: Law and Governance in Postbellum America, 1865-1920 in A COMPANION TO AMERICAN LEGAL HISTORY (A. Brophy and S. Hadden, eds.; Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

A Province of Jurisprudence?: The Invention of a Law of Constitutional Conventions in LAW BOOKS IN ACTION: ESSAYS ON THE ANGLO-AMERICAN LEGAL TREATISE (M. Dubber and A. Fernandez, eds.; Hart, 2012)


Historicizing Jurisprudence, 42 REVIEWS IN AMERICAN HISTORY 115, reviewing David Rabban, Law's History: American Legal Thought and the Transatlantic Turn to History (John Hopkins University Press, 2014)

Building the New Supremacy: California's 'Chinese Question' and the Fate of Reconstruction, 8 CALIFORNIA LEGAL HISTORY 319 (2013)

The People's Privilege: The Franking Privilege, Constituent Correspondence, and Political Representation in Mid-Nineteenth Century America, 31 LAW AND HISTORY REVIEW 101 (Cambridge University Press, February 2013)

On Becoming Relevant: The Role of Legal History in Legal Scholarship, JOURNAL OF THINGS WE LIKE LOTS (JOTWeLL), reviewing Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Changing the People: Legal Regulation and American Democracy, NYU LAW REVIEW 86 (2011)

An Introduction to Constitutional Conventions and Constitutional Compilations, MAKING OF MODERN LAW: PRIMARY SOURCES, 1620-1926 (Gale Cengage) (website)

Confederate Constitution, in David Tanenhaus, ed., ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES (Macmillan Reference USA, 2008)

Book Review, Law in the Conquest of L.A., JOTWeLL (June 9, 2014) (reviewing David Samuel Torres-Rouff, Before L.A.: Race, Space, and Municipal Power in Los Angeles, 1781-1894)

Book Review, Stacy L. Smith, Freedom's Frontier: California and the struggle over unfree labor, emancipation, and reconstruction, 8 CALIFORNIA LEGAL HISTORY 469 (2013)

Book Review, Property and (Not 'vs.') the State, JOTWeLL (June 4, 2013) (reviewing Brooks and Rose, Saving the Neighborhood: Racially Restrictive Covenants, Law, and Social Norms)

Book Review, Mark E. Neely, Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War (The University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 74 THE HISTORIAN 1 (2013)

Book Review, Christian G. Fritz, American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition before the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2008), LAW AND HISTORY REVIEW 30 (2012)

Book Review, Political Moderation in America's First Two Centuries (R. Calhoon; Cambridge University Press, 2009)  LAW AND HISTORY REVIEW (Spring 2010)