Kevin Cope headshot

Kevin Cope

Associate Professor
Unit: School of Law
Department: School of Law
Office location and address
580 Massie Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Ph.D. University of Michigan, expected 2019
LL.M. Georgetown University Law Center 2012
J.D. Northwestern University School of Law 2004
B.A. Ohio State University 2000

Kevin Cope is a research assistant professor of law at the Law School and faculty affiliate at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. Cope’s research focuses on law and economics, international relations and international law. He is especially 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 law reviews such as the Michigan Law Review, 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 been published in FiveThirtyEight and Slate.

Cope is currently pursuing two primary research initiatives. In a series of papers (co-authored with James D. Morrow), he and his co-author develop a formal model of multilateral treaty-making. Guided by this theory, they develop an empirical model based on negotiating data collected from the archived records of a dozen of the last few decades’ most significant international conventions. Their goal is to use the models to assist negotiators in finding sets of treaty terms that will appeal to a critical mass of key states, thereby improving prospects for effective global cooperation in areas such as trade, disarmament, migration and environmental. A second initiative (with co-author Adam Feldman) develops the first judicial ideology measure covering nearly the entire federal judiciary. The measure is derived from text analysis of tens of thousands of qualitative judicial evaluations from legal experts familiar with judges' decisions. The 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.

LAW 6007: Torts
Credits: 4
The course examines liability for civil wrongs that do not arise out of contract. It explores three standards of conduct: liability for intentional wrongdoing, negligence, and liability without fault, or strict liability, and other issues associated with civil liability, such as causation, damages, and defenses. Battery, medical malpractice, products liability, and tort reform will also be covered.
LAW 7042: Immigration Law
Credits: 3
This course introduces the complex substantive provisions of U.S. immigration laws and the procedures used to decide specific immigration-related issues. Attention is given to underlying constitutional, philosophical, and historical issues, and to the interaction of Congress, the courts, and administrative agencies regarding major public policy issues on immigration, including current anti-terrorism policy.
PLIR 7500: Special Topics in International Relations
Credits: 3
Special Topics in International Relations
LAW 7796: Computational Text Analysis for Legal Practice (SC)
Credits: 1
Automatic text analysis is transforming the legal field by improving discovery, facilitating contract review and analysis, and improving the summary and analysis of legal documents more generally. This short course introduces students to modern quantitative text analysis techniques, with the ultimate goal of providing students with the skills necessary to apply these methods in their own research or practice.
LAW 8810: Directed Research
Credits: 1
Eligible students receive credit for serving as research assistants supervised by selected law school faculty members.
LAW 8811: Independent Research
Credits: 1
This course is a semester-long independent research project resulting in a substantial research paper supervised and graded by a selected law school faculty member.
LAW 9089: Seminar in Ethical Values (YR)
This is the first semester of a yearlong seminar designed to enhance students' understanding of ethical issues and address the broader ethical and moral responsibilities of the lawyer as citizen and leader.
LAW 9090: Seminar in Ethical Values (YR)
Credits: 1
This is the second semester of a yearlong seminar designed to enhance students' understanding of ethical issues and address the broader ethical and moral responsibilities of the lawyer as citizen and leader.
LAW 9282: Constitutional Law and Economics
Credits: 3
This course will explore how economic reasoning informs constitutional and public law processes, including bargaining, voting, delegating, and enforcement. We will consider the incentive effects of legal rules and institutional designs and evaluate their implications for public and semi-public goods (like civil rights and international cooperation on climate change) and club and private goods (like welfare benefits and the right to immigrate).
LAW 9287: Law and Economics Colloquium
Credits: 1–2
In each meeting, a leading scholar will present a current legal research paper using the methodology of law and economics.
LAW 9323: Law and International Politics Seminar
Credits: 3
This seminar is an introduction to the analysis of the rules and institutions of international law from the perspective of international politics.
LAW 9329: International Law of Migration and Refugees
Credits: 3
This course explores the international law of migration, with a focus on refugee law. It examines how the international treaty system governs and shapes states' treatment of temporary workers, refugees, and other short- and long-term migrants. The seminar also covers how refugee law is incorporated into the U.S. legal system, with special attention to asylum-seekers from Latin America and the southern border.