Kevin Cope

Kevin Cope

Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy

Kevin Cope is an associate professor of law at the Law School and faculty affiliate at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics.

Cope’s research focuses on the measurement of legal and political phenomena. Substantively, he is most interested in the law and politics of international institutions, migration, and relationships between domestic institutional structure and international behavior. 

Cope’s work is published or forthcoming in journals such as the Michigan Law Review, Political Science Research and Methods, American Journal of International Law, Law and Contemporary Problems and Virginia Journal of International Law, and in books published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and others. His short articles have appeared in The Washington Post, FiveThirtyEight, LSE United States Politics & Policy Blog and Slate.

Cope is currently pursuing a series of research initiatives related to the decision-making and attitudes of legal and political actors. In an initiative on multilateral treaty-making, he applies a theoretical model (related to co-authored work with James D. Morrow) to negotiating data collected from the archived records of the last few decades’ most significant conventions. Cope hopes the methods will eventually assist international officials in designing more effective treaty-making processes across issue areas. A second initiative (with Charles Crabtree) investigates how legal rules affect citizens’ attitudes toward domestic immigration policies. A third initiative (with Adam Feldman) develops the first judicial ideology measure covering nearly the entire federal judiciary. The authors hope that those data will allow researchers to address important questions about judging and judicial behavior that were previously intractable due to data limitations.

Before coming to the Law School, Cope served as a federal judicial clerk for judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Northern District of Ohio and the Court of Federal Claims. He also practiced government enforcement litigation law in Washington, D.C., with Skadden, Arps, where he handled matters involving treaties, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, immigration law, the World Bank and the U.S. Constitution. In law school, he served as an editor of the Northwestern University Law Review.