Robin A. Lenhardt is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Georgetown University Racial Justice Institute. She joined the Georgetown faculty after many years at Fordham University School of Law, where she was the Founder and Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Law & Justice. Professor Lenhardt entered academia after completing the Future Law Professor fellowship at Georgetown Law. Professor Lenhardt teaches constitutional law, family law, and advanced seminars on issues of race, equality, and structural racial inequality (among other subjects). She has also visited at the University of Chicago Law School and Columbia Law School.

As a leading scholar on matters of race and family, Professor Lenhardt’s research addresses questions of race, intimate affiliations, and the structural barriers to full citizenship and belonging. Her work on family explores the role of law in shaping intimate choice, kinship, family inequality, and familial ties. It has, among other things, examined anti-miscegenation law, ideas about race in the marriage equality movement, the racialization and regulation of marriage more broadly, and the role of family-related systems and structures in perpetuating racial subordination. Outside of the family context, Professor Lenhardt’s work, which draws on social science research about race, considers the role of law in structuring opportunities for racial minorities, including in the areas of work and education.

In addition to contemplating empirically-based options for identifying race-based barriers to belonging, her research explores judicial and extrajudicial alternatives for eradicating such barriers. Professor Lenhardt’s research appears in numerous books and has been published in legal journals such as the California Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, the New York University Law Review, and the UCLA Law Review. Professor Lenhardt co-edited the book, Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Opinions on Race and Law (with Bennett Capers, Devon Carbado, and Angela Onwuachi-Willig). She is also currently at work on RACE, LAW, AND FAMILY IN AN AMERICAN CITY, a book exploring the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Moore v. City of East Cleveland and the unexamined issues of structural racism that inform it, as well as current issues of race and family in the United States. In addition, she is the co-editor for New York University Law School’s series on family law and is co-authoring a book on families of color with Professor Nancy Dowd.

Professor Lenhardt is a graduate of Brown University, where she served as both a trustee and a fellow on the Brown University Corporation. She also holds a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School; an LLM from the Georgetown University Law Center; and an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. While in law school, Professor Lenhardt served on both the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and the Blackletter Law Journal; earned 2nd place in the Williston Contracts Competition; received the NAACP Earl Warren Legal Training Program Scholarship; and was an officer of the Black Law Students Association. After law school, Professor Lenhardt clerked for the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court and the Honorable Hugh Bownes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship to work as a civil rights attorney with the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and served as an Attorney-Advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Later, Professor Lenhardt joined Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, where she held the position of Counsel and was a member of the litigation team that defended the University of Michigan in the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2003. Professor Lenhardt was selected as a member of President Obama’s 2008 Transition Team, serving with the DOJ Agency Review, Civil Rights Group.

Professor Lenhardt has been recognized for her scholarship and service. She was awarded the American Association of Law Schools’ prestigious Clyde Ferguson Award in 2019 for her teaching, scholarship, and service. Among other awards, she was given the Fordham Law Dean’s Scholarship award for her scholarly work. As an American Bar Foundation Fellow, Professor Lenhardt sits on the Board of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a civil rights advocacy organization leading efforts to advance racial justice nation-wide, and the Bail Project. While at Fordham, Professor Lenhardt oversaw planning, programing, research initiatives, and fundraising for Fordham Law’s successful Center on Race, Law and Justice, which launched in February 2016. The center works to generate innovative responses to racial inequality and discrimination in both the domestic and global contexts. At Georgetown, Professor Lenhardt works collaboratively with three other “founders” also selected through a competitive, national selection process to launch the University’s ambitious Racial Justice Initiative. First publicly announced in 2016, the Racial Justice Initiative stands to become a nation-wide leader in the study of race and inequality, as well as in solutions and strategies designed to disrupt their adverse effects on communities of color, as well as society more broadly.


Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

R.A. Lenhardt, Whitewashing the Family (working paper).


Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and the Law (Bennett Capers, Devon W. Carbado, R. A. Lenhardt & Angela Onwuachi-Willig eds., New York: Cambridge University Press 2022).

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

R.A. Lenhardt, Parenting While Black, 90 Fordham L. Rev. 2591-2597 (2022).
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R.A. Lenhardt & Kimani Paul-Emile, Skimmed Milk: Reflections on Race, Health, and What Families Tell Us About Structural Racism, 57 Cal. W. L. Rev. 231-242 (2021).
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Book Chapters & Collected Works

R. A. Lenhardt, Moore v. City of East Cleveland, in Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and the Law 492-513 (Bennett Capers, Devon W. Carbado, R. A. Lenhardt & Angela Onwuachi-Willig eds., New York: Cambridge University Press 2022).