Amber Baylor

Associate Professor and Criminal Defense Clinic Director

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“There can be moments as an attorney – especially when you carry some aspect of a client’s fate in your hands -- when you become the best version of yourself. You may (nervously) stand up to power, help clients tell their (complex) story, or develop a vision for a better, more equal world. These humbling, human moments representing people and communities are a gift of the profession – seek them out and enjoy them!”

Get to Know Amber Baylor

What drew you to the law?

I was lucky to have a college experience surrounded by political activism. I learned as much about power structures, protest, and advocating for inclusivity from my peers as I did in class. I saw law as a way to enhance this skill set, and help me develop insights into our legal systems that would allow me to be a resource to those advocating for social equality.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy seeing students develop critical perspectives on the law. It’s a steep learning to curve just to be able to absorb case law. My favorite moment is seeing students move past simply understating the status quo, and begin to challenge the premise(s) of courts’ ruling. Being able to identify justice gaps is a critical moment in developing a passion for lawyering. 

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

I’m happiest if a student leaves a class discussion dissatisfied with some schism between the ethos of the law and its application. I hope students feel inspired by shifts in law that have created a better world, confident in identifying current justice gaps, and prepared with the tools to discuss and address injustices.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I worked as a public defense attorney at two non-profit organizations:  one a federal defender in California, the other a community-based defense office in Harlem, NY. As a defense attorney I worked closely with social workers, investigators, immigration, family and housing attorneys.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

I’m a wanna-be documentarian. I love documentaries (especially related to criminal law). I’ve captured a few video and audio oral histories that one day might be a complete project. My downtime is lively -- my partner and preschooler are both entertaining people. We like art, live music, dancing.

What are your research interests?

I research different aspects of criminal legal systems; I am interested in alternatives to mass incarceration. I have written about women and pretrial detention, the impact of trauma from pretrial detention, and the historic experiences of women in prison. I try to prioritize work immersed in the experiences of people who are imprisoned, people formerly imprisoned, and directly affected communities.

Expertise

  • Criminal law
  • Criminal justice
  • Clinical legal education

Courses

  • Criminal Defense Clinic Seminar
  • Criminal Law

Academic Experience

  • Visiting Assistant Professor and Director, Veterans Law Clinic
    Widener University Delaware Law School (2015-2017)
  • Clinical Teaching Fellow and Supervising Attorney
    The Community Justice Project, Georgetown University Law Center (2013-2015)
  • Kathryn Wadia Fellow
    The International Legal Foundation, Ramallah, West Bank-Palestine (2012)

Education

  • LL.M. in Advocacy, ​Georgetown University Law Center
  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A. in History, Columbia University
  • Undergraduate Program in Arts and Social Change, School for International Training, Cape Town, South Africa