Nikolas Bowie, a scholar of constitutional law, local government law, and legal history, will join the Harvard Law School faculty as an assistant professor in July. Bowie currently holds the Reginald Lewis Law Teaching Fellowship at HLS and is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University. Last year, he held the Berger-Howe Legal History Fellowship at HLS. His research focuses on the constitutional status of cities, corporations, and related institutions.
“Niko Bowie is a talented legal scholar and historian whose work has already deepened our understanding of the ways historical conceptions of the corporation have structured American constitutionalism, freedom of speech, local government law, and other important areas of law,” said John Manning, dean of Harvard Law School. “He will enrich our students with his broad range, his depth of insight, and the passion he brings to the study of law and the areas in which he will teach and write. We are thrilled that he is joining the Harvard Law School faculty.”
Bowie’s dissertation, “Corporate America: A History of Corporate Statehood Since 1629,” examines the relationship between corporations and constitutions from the seventeenth-century Massachusetts Bay Company to the present. The central theme is how Americans have understood corporations as forms of government that require democratic methods of political accountability. Later this year, the Law and History Review will publish an article derived from the dissertation about a 1978 referendum in which the city of Boston claimed the same First Amendment right as business corporations to spend millions of dollars influencing voters.
“It is an incredible honor to join the faculty of Harvard Law School, one that comes with an unmistakable responsibility to serve others,” said Bowie. “I cannot wait to challenge the next generation of leaders to establish justice in the world around us.”
Bowie serves on the postconviction and appellate panel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the public defender agency of Massachusetts.
He clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court of the United States and for Judge Jeffrey Sutton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
At Harvard Law School, Bowie served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was also an oralist on the winning team in the Ames Moot Court Competition.
Raised in Cambridge, Bowie graduated from the nearby Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He later graduated from Yale University, where he won the John A. Porter Prize for best senior thesis in American history.