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Lara Bazelon    

Director of the Criminal Juvenile & Racial Justice Programs at University of San Francisco Law School; Contributing Writer for Slate & Politico; Racial & Social Justice Advocate

Lara Bazelon is a professor of law and the director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. From 2012-2015, she was a visiting associate clinical professor at Loyola Law School and the director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent. Professor Bazelon was a trial attorney in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles for seven years. Prior to that, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Harry Pregerson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Bazelon’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of ethics and criminal justice advocacy. She is the co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon & Professionalism Committee. In January 2017, she was selected to serve a three-year term on the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Council.

Professor Bazelon is a contributing writer for Slate and Politico Magazine, where her long-form journalism and opinion pieces appear regularly, including a long-running series in Slate on issues arising from wrongful convictions. Her essays and op-eds have also been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times. Her law review article, "Ending Innocence Denying," appears in Volume 47 of the Hofstra Law Review.

Professor Bazelon’s book Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction was published in October 2018. She is the recipient of a writer-in-residency award from the MacDowell Colony in 2016 and from Mesa Refuge in 2017, where she was named the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Fellow for excellence in writing about issues relating to the criminal justice system.

Speech Topics

What is Effective Advocacy?

An effective advocate is a storyteller who grabs the audience by the throat in the first 11 seconds and never lets go with a narrative that coheres and counters the opposing side's version of events. The successful lawyer conveys the humanity and pathos of the client without condescension or appropriation.

That is the advocate I have always strived to be. It is the advocate I teach my students to become at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where we represent indigent clients charged with misdemeanor offenses, represent prisoners in youthful offender parole hearings, and advocate more broadly for racial justice by taking on longer-term impact projects.

Last October, after 15 months of litigation, we got a dismissal for a client who we don't believe ever should have been charged in the first place.

I teach my students how to be trial lawyers--skills I learned during my seven years as a federal public defender. I brought those skills to the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent, which I directed from 2012-2015. In 2013, the Project freed Kash Delano Register, who spent 34 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.


All Stories by Lara Bazelon - The Atlantic

Lara Bazelon is a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and the author of the forthcoming book Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice ...

Opinion | I've Picked My Job Over My Kids - The New York Times

By Lara Bazelon. Ms. Bazelon is a law professor. .... Lara Bazelon (@larabazelon ), a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, is the author of, ...

A Lawyer of Many Talents: Lara Bazelon Talks Family, Justice, and Ambition

Lara Bazelon is proof that lawyers can wear many hats: She’s a professor, litigator, and contributing writer for Slate, where she has a long-running series about criminal justice and modern family life. Her op-eds and essays have also been published in the New York Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets. Next year, she’ll add “author” to her list of titles when her book about wrongful convictions is published. Here, she talks about career setbacks, challenges for women in the courtroom, and overcoming the stigma of a painful divorce.

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