Kotler is a trial and appellate attorney who has argued at all levels of the state and federal court system, including at the United States Supreme Court. He has served as legal counsel to the California First Amendment Coalition, the California Freedom of Information Committee, and the Society of Professional Journalists, Los Angeles Professional Chapter. While Dean of the USC Graduate School before returning to teach at the School of Journalism, Kotler was elected to and served as President of the Western Association of Graduate Schools and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Graduate Schools of the Association of American Universities (AAU). He is co-author of
, a history of the United States as told through contemporaneously written newspaper stories.