Jeff Rowes

Senior Attorney


The New York Bar

Jeff Rowes serves as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. His practice focuses on private property rights, free speech, and economic liberty.

Jeff currently represents cancer patients and their families, a prominent doctor, and a California nonprofit organization in a path-breaking constitutional challenge to the federal criminal ban on compensation for lifesaving bone marrow donors.

Jeff represents the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey in their federal constitutional challenge to Louisiana laws that make it a crime for the monks to sell their handmade wooden caskets to the public.

In the area of property rights, Jeff represents the Community Youth Athletic Center, a boxing and mentoring program for at-risk youth in National City, California near San Diego. National City, which declared the gym and hundreds of other properties “blighted,” approved a plan to seize the gym and transfer its land to a private developer so he can build luxury condos for the wealthy. He also successfully represented the elderly and working-class families of the beachfront MTOTSA neighborhood in Long Branch, N.J., which was rescued from the private developer’s wrecking ball.

In his First Amendment practice, Jeff successfully represented Chris Pagan before the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Pagan’s First Amendment suit against Glendale, Ohio for banning automobile “for sale” signs from parked cars.  The 8-7 decision affirmed that commercial speech warrants important constitutional protection.

Jeff has published opinion pieces on constitutional law in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and many other outlets.

A native of Alberta, Canada, Jeff dropped out of high school at 17, moved to the mountains to teach skiing, backpacked in Asia for six months, and then attended the University of Alberta, after which he lived two years in Japan as a translator.  He came to the United States to pursue educational opportunities and fell in love with American principles of liberty.  He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2002 where he was extensively involved in law and economics. He also holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago in law and philosophy. Before coming to the Institute, Jeff clerked for Judge Will Garwood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Chief Judge Patricia Fawsett of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

When he’s not fighting for his clients’ rights, Jeff hangs out with his wife and baby son, rock climbs and competes in ironman- distance triathlons.

Jeff's Cases

Educational Choice | Publicly Funded Scholarships

Alaska School Choice

As a sparsely populated state, Alaska faces unique challenges in ensuring that all children can receive an education. To address this concern, the state created “correspondence programs,” in which a student’s public school used the…

Educational Choice | Publicly Funded Scholarships

New Hampshire School Choice

New Hampshire families are poised to defend the state’s Education Freedom Accounts (EFA) from a legal challenge.

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Utah Private Investigators

Jeremy Barnes is a former police officer who runs his own private investigator company in Idaho, near the Utah border. Utah has prevented Jeremy from earning an honest living because he lives three minutes across…

Other Property Rights Abuses | Private Property | Right to Shelter

Akron Homeless Advocate Sues for Right to Shelter the Homeless

Sage Lewis is using his commercial property to build a community for those experiencing homelessness, with the hope of helping them transition from the streets to permanent housing. The city of Akron is attempting to…

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Jeff's Research & Reports

No Work in Newark

Economic Liberty

No Work in Newark

This study examines grassroots entrepreneurship in Newark and offers practical recommendations on how the city, which has become synonymous with urban dysfunction, could reform its laws and practices to encourage more small businesses to operate…

Jeff's Amicus Briefs

Welch v. Brown

Welch v. Brown

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Jeff's News, Articles & Publications

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