Peter Nicolas

  • Adjunct Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
  • Adjunct Professor of Music
  • Director, Intellectual Property Law & Policy Graduate Program
  • William L. Dwyer Chair in Law


Phone: (206) 685-2459


B.A. 1991 (Economics), M.P.P. 1992, University of Michigan J.D. 1999, Harvard University A.A.A.S. 2021 (Music Performance), Shoreline Community College B.A. 2023 (Music), University of Washington

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Affirmative Action — Civil Rights — Constitutional Law — Copyright Law — Evidence — Federal Courts — LGBTQ Rights — Music Law — Reproductive Rights

Recent Courses

LAW A 592 Constitutional Law II
LAW B 503 Evidence
LAW E 522 Advanced Constitutional Law: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
LAW P 507 Copyright Law
LAW P 520 Intellectual Property Theory Seminar
LAW P 536 Music Law & Policy

Professor Nicolas joined the UW law school faculty in 2000 following a clerkship with Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where he served on the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review. His teaching and research interests include evidence, constitutional law, music law, sexual orientation and gender identity law, federal courts, international civil litigation, and conflict of laws.

Professor Nicolas is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of evidence, constitutional law, federal courts, and sexual orientation law. He is the author of three national textbooks on the topics of evidence; constitutional law; and sexual orientation, gender identity, and the law. His textbooks have been adopted for classroom use at law schools throughout the United States.

Professor Nicolas's scholarship has been cited by countless scholars and dozens of federal and state courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He has served as a consultant on cases nationwide involving the rights of same-sex couples, and he has been invited to give lectures to attorneys and judges on the nuances of evidence and constitutional law.

Professor Nicolas's current teaching and scholarship also focuses on the intersection of copyright law and music theory. Professor Nicolas teaches a course on music law and policy and his current scholarship focuses on the intersection of the two fields. Professor Nicolas has studied music at Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington, with a focus on music theory; music history; composition; piano; and popular and classical voice.

From 2008 - 2010, Professor Nicolas served as Associate Dean of the UW law school. His responsibilities in that capacity included faculty career development; curriculum delivery (including course scheduling and teaching assignments); appointing faculty committees and serving as a liaison to the academic standards, admissions, and curriculum committees; supervising the Director of Academic Services and the Director of Academic Advising; honor code enforcement; and working closely with the Dean and other members of the law school's leadership on all aspects of institutional development and planning.

Prior to pursuing a career in the law, Professor Nicolas was a Research Economist at the University of Michigan and served for two, two-year terms as a member of the Ann Arbor, Michigan, City Council. He is a member of the bars of New York, U.S. District Court of Colorado, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Peer Reviewed Journals & Law Reviews

Books or Treatises

  • Peter Nicolas, The Reconstruction Amendments (Carolina Academic Press 2020).
  • Peter Nicolas, Evidence: A Problem-Based and Comparative Approach (4th ed. Carolina Academic Press 2018). 971 pages. [First published in 2005; includes statutory supplement and teacher's manual; supplemented annually.]
  • Peter Nicolas & Mike Strong, The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps) (5th ed. Peter Nicolas and Mike Strong 2014). 36 pages. [First published in 2011.]
  • Peter Nicolas, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Constitution (Carolina Academic Press 2012, annual supps.). 612 pages.
  • Peter Nicolas, Florida and Federal Evidence Rules, 2012-2013 (Aspen Publishers 2012). 426 pages. [First published in 2006.]
  • Peter Nicolas, New York and Federal Evidence Rules, 2012-2013 (Aspen Publishers 2012). 374 pages. [First published in 2007.]
  • Peter Nicolas, Texas and Federal Evidence Rules, 2009-2010 (Aspen Publishers 2009). 336 pages. [First published in 2006.]

News Media

  • Speaker, "Harmonizing Music Theory and Music Law, 6th Annual Copyright Scholarship Roundtable", Sixth Annual Copyright Scholarship Roundtable, The Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition (CTIC), University of Pennsylvania Law School (October 15, 2021)
  • Speaker, "The History of the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement: 50 Years After Stonewall", QLawWA and King County Superior Court (June 7, 2019)
  • Speaker, "The Federalization of Family Law", Meeting, Washington Superior Judges’ Association (April 8, 2018)
  • Speaker, "Evidence: The Admissibility of Electronic Information under the Federal Rules", 2017 National Workshop for Magistrate Judges I, Federal Judicial Center (April 3, 2017)
  • Panelist, "Setting the Post-Obergefell Agenda", Annual Meeting, Association of American Law Schools (January 6, 2017)