Headshot of Tom Romero

Tom I. Romero

Associate Professor; Faculty Director, IRISE

  • Faculty


Legal History, Property Law, Water Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law

Professional Biography

Professor Romero is an Associate Professor of Law and is Affiliated Faculty with the Department of History. The author of numerous articles, book chapters, and essays, Professor Romero teaches and researches in the areas of the legal history of the American West, Latinos and the law, immigration law, school desegregation, property, land use, water law, and urban development and local government in the United States. A native Denverite and undergraduate alum of the University of Denver, Professor Romero is graduate of the University of Michigan where he received his J.D. and Ph.D. in history.

Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2010, Professor Romero was a Professor of Law and History at Hamline University School of Law. From 2000-2003, he also served as the Western Legal Studies Fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Center of the American West, Law School and Department of History. There, Professor Romero completed a statewide survey of resources related to the legal history of Colorado and wrote a regular 'historical perspective' column for the state bar journal, The Colorado Lawyer.

At the University of Michigan, Professor Romero acted as a contributing editor of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, worked with the legal counsel of the student interveners in Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 US 244 (2003), and spent time in Lima, Peru as a consultant on 19th century American property law for Hernando De Soto in his book: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. As part of this project, Professor Romero also collaborated with Peruvian civil lawyers and their work in formalizing title to property that is occupied by families and individuals possessing tracts of land.

Currently, Professor Romero is revising a book manuscript on multiracial formation and the law in post-World War II Denver, Colorado; where among other aspect of the analysis, he extensively explores Keyes v. School Board No. One, 413 US 189 (1973) (the first non-Southern school desegregation case to reach the United States Supreme Court). In collaboration with the Denver Law Review, Dr. Romero helped to organize a special symposium analyzing the impact and importance of the Keyes case since it was decided in 1973. 90 Denver Law Review 1023 (2013).

He also working on several projects related to the past history and current challenges of race, immigration and water law known as the Color of Water Law project. These projects include a book chapter that examines the intersection between developments in water and immigration law in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and a community based participatory research project on water access and water quality issues impacting a Latinx neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.

As Associate Provost for IE Research and Curriculum Initiatives for the larger university, Professor Romero has worked to make the University of Denver one of the premier institutions in the country for the rigorous study of social and institutional inequality through the University's IRISE initiative.

Professor Romero is an active member of LatCrit, Inc., Law and Society, the American Studies Association, the Western History Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.


  • Ph.D., HIstory, University of Michgan, 2004
  • JD, University of Michigan, 2000
  • MA, History, University of Michigan, 1999
  • BA, History/Public Affairs, University of Denver, 1995

Featured Publications

The Keyes to Reclaiming the Racial History of the Roberts Court, 20 University of Michigan Law School 35 (2015).
How I Rode the Bus to Become a Law Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law: Reflections on Keyes Legacy for the Metropolitan, Post-racial, and Multiracial 21st Century, 90 Denver Law Review 36 (2013).
"Of Greater Value than the Gold of our Mountains:" The Right to Education in Colorado's Nineteenth Century Constitution, 83 University of Colorado Law Review 63 (2012).
The Color of Water: Observations of a Brown Buffalo on Water PLaw and Policy in Ten Stanzas, 15 Denver Water Law Review 329-367 (2012).