Patricia A. Cain

Professor of Law

Professor Patricia Cain is a national expert in federal tax law and sexuality and the law. She has published numerous law review articles, essays, and book reviews on various topics, including federal taxation of installment sales (Wisconsin Law Review), tort law (Michigan Law Review), the role of judges (University of Southern California Law Review), feminist legal theory (Georgia Law Review and University of Iowa Law Review), and the history of the LGBT rights movement (Virginia Law Review). Her area of specialization is taxation and estate planning for same-sex couples and she frequently lectures on this topic at state and national continuing legal education programs. She is the co-author, with Professor Arthur S. Leonard, of one of the leading casebooks for Sexuality and the Law courses, Sexuality Law, 3rd edition (2019). She is also the author of Rainbow Rights, The Role of Lawyers and Courts in the Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights Movement (2000) and has recently edited a pivotal book on early women law professors, originally authored by the late Herma Hill Kay and titled, Paving the Way: The First American Women Law Professors (2021).

Professor Cain began her law teaching career at the University of Texas in 1974, where she was a member of the faculty for 17 years. She then joined the law faculty at the University of Iowa, where she held the Aliber Family Chair in Law and served as Interim Provost of the University and later as Vice Provost. She has been a member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty since 2007.


J.D., magna cum laude, University of Georgia

A.B., Vassar College

Areas of Specialization

Federal Taxation, Wills and Estates, Feminist Legal Theory, Property Law, Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues, Torts

Affiliations and Honors

  • Board of Directors, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, New York City, 1985-1992
  • Open Door Teaching Award, Student Bar Association, University of Texas School of Law
  • H.O. Head Centennial Professor in Real Property Law, University of Texas, 1990-1991
  • Collegiate Teaching Award, University of Iowa
  • Co-President, Society of American Law Teachers, 1994-1996, Treasurer, 2003-2017, Board member, since 1985
  • Treasurer and Board of Directors, Society of American Law Teachers Dorsen Fund, 2007-present
  • Jean Y. Jew Women’s Rights Award, University of Iowa
  • John S. Lehman Distinguished Visiting Professor, Washington University, Spring 2003
  • Aliber Family Chair in Law, Emerita, University of Iowa
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Inez Mabie Distinguished Professor of Law, Santa Clara University, 2007-2012