Mark W. Cordes

Title: Interim Dean and Professor of Law
Office Location: Swen Parson 270
Office Phone: 815-753-1380
Education: B.S., Portland State University
M.A., Fuller Theological Seminary
J.D., Willamette University
J.S.M., Stanford University

Mark Cordes has taught courses in property, land use controls, constitutional law, first amendment and environmental law. He was editor-in-chief of the Willamette Law Review and served as a law clerk to Justice Thomas Tongue of the Oregon Supreme Court after graduation from law school. He served as interim dean of the NIU College of Law from June 2015 to June 2016 and was appointed interim dean again in June 2017. Prior to coming to NIU, Cordes was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School for two years.

Cordes is the author of more than two dozen book chapters and law review articles in the areas of property, free speech, religion, environmental law and land use controls. He was a significant contributor to the revision of Thompson on Real Property, a leading multi-volume treatise on property law. In addition to his law review articles, Cordes also contributed five entries to the recent Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties.

Cordes is an avid runner, having completed sixteen marathons, including eleven Chicago Marathons. Cordes served in the U.S. Army from 1970-72, including a tour in Vietnam, where he earned the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart.

Areas of Expertise

  • Property
  • Environmental law
  • Land use controls
  • Constitutional law
  • First amendment

Recent Activities

  • Working with an interdisciplinary group on the NIU campus developing academic and engagement activities related to environmental law.

Books and Chapters

  • Religion as Speech: The Growing Role of Free Speech Jurisprudence in Protecting Religious Liberty, in The American Experiment: Religious Freedom (Margaret  M. Hogan & Lauretta C. Frederking, eds., 2008).
  • Transfer of Landlord and Tenant Interests, in 5 Thompson On Real Property 285 (David Thomas ed., 1994 & Cum. Supp. 1995-1998).
  • Statutory Modifications of Landlord and Tenant Law, in 5 Thompson On Real Property 343 (David Thomas ed., 1994 & Cum. Supp. 1995-1998).

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Prayer in Public Schools, in 2 Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 1196 (2006).
  • Limitations on Clergy Holding Office, in 2 Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 921 (2006).
  • Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, in 3 Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 1422 (2006).
  • Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District in 2 Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 906 (2006).
  • Time, Place and Manner Restrictions, in 3 Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 1657 (2006).


Other Legal Writing