Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Roman J. Hoyos

Roman J. Hoyos

Associate Professor of Law

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 came to Southwestern from Duke University Law School where he taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 2008-2010.  While at Duke Law, Professor Hoyos taught Legislation and State and Local Government Law.  He also taught Modern American Legal History for Duke's Department of History.

"[I want my students to] 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."

At Southwestern, Professor Hoyos teaches in the areas of property and government. As a faculty member, 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." More importantly, however, 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' research focuses on the areas of public law and legal and constitutional history. He is particularly interested in institutional approaches to law, which seek to understand the legal, political, and intellectual structures in which legal decisions are made. Professor Hoyos has recently completed his dissertation at the University of Chicago, which is entitled "In Convention Assembled: Constitutional Conventions, Law, and Democracy in Nineteenth Century America." The dissertation explores the rise and decline of popular sovereignty in the nineteenth century, as viewed through the lens of the constitutional convention. He is now in the process of turning his dissertation into a book. He also serves as Contributing Editor for the Legal History section of JOTWeLL (Journal Of Things We Like Lots), an online review journal, and as a board member for the California State Supreme Court Historical Society.

While in law school, Professor Hoyos served as Special Sections Editor for the Northwestern Law Review.  He was also involved in several student groups, including the Latino Law Students Association, the Diversity Coalition, and the Student Faculty Appointments Committee. 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, forthcoming 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, 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)