Human Rights Specialty

Human Rights (Domestic & International) Specialty
Professor Bisom-Rapp

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law faculty has a long track record of working to safeguard and advance the cause of human rights both domestically and throughout the world. These efforts are coordinated through the Centers for Law and Social Justice and Global Legal Studies and range from the grass roots Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, through which students and faculty help safeguard the legal rights of local veterans, to international issues ranging from Guantánamo Bay to Kosovo to China.

The two centers for academic excellence, directed by Professors Alex Kreit and Susan Tiefenbrun, respectively, engage in extensive programming that focuses on domestic and international human rights, including major international conferences on genocide, human trafficking, and violations of children's rights throughout the world. A recent program focused on Sierra Leone and other regions of the world where child soldiers are trafficked and men, women, and children are enslaved, indoctrinated, and dehumanized.

Like all TJSL faculty, our professors teach and write in areas that engage human rights issues, have open door policies and encourage students to work directly with them on papers as well as research and advocacy projects. Through our Veterans Legal Affairs Clinic and externship program, TJSL students also can earn law school credit working to advance human rights in their neighborhood and throughout the world. For example, students have worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra Leone. A team of students also compete annually in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which consists of teams throughout Latin American and the United States.


Civil Justice Seminar

Employment Discrimination

Globalization & the Workplace

Immigration Law

International Criminal Law

International Human Rights

International Labor & Employment Law

International Law

Refugee & Asylum Law

Sexuality Gender & the Law

Women & International Human Rights Law

Women & the Law

Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic

Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp (Employment Discrimination, Globalization & the Workplace, International Labor & Employment Law) is a leading international expert on the rights of workers. She is co-author of the leading casebook, The Global Workplace: International And Comparative Employment Law - Cases And Materials (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and a member of the teaching faculty of the Doctoral Research School in Labour and Industrial Relations at the Marco Biagi Foundation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Professor Marjorie Cohn (International Human Rights) is the immediate past-president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures throughout the world on international human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She serves as a news consultant for CBS News, and provides commentary on human rights and other issues for the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, Air America and Pacifica Radio. For many years, she has supervised a team of students competing in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. In 2008, she testified about government torture policy before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Professor Julie Greenberg (Sexuality, Gender & the Law, Women & the Law, Comparative Family Law) is an internationally recognized expert on the legal issues relating to gender, sex, sexual identity and sexual orientation. Her path-breaking work on gender identity has been cited by a number of state and federal courts, as well as courts in other countries. Her most recent work, Intersexuality & the Law: Why Sex Matters, was  published in 2011 by the New York University Press.

Professor William Slomanson (International Law) has served since 1992 as editor of the American Society of International Law's section on the United Nations Decade of International Law, and has lectured on teaching of international law to the United Nations Sixth Committee (legal) at the U.N. in New York. Since 2002, he has regularly taught in Kosovo during the summer, and he is now a Visiting Professor at the Pristina University. In Fall 2007, he became a Corresponding Editor for the American Society of International Law's International Legal Materials. His works include Fundamental Perspectives on International Law, which is currently in its fifth edition.

Professor Susan Tiefenbrun (Women & International Human Rights Law) has written extensively on human trafficking as a form of contemporary slavery. In 2003, she was awarded the French Legion of Honor by President Jacques Chirac. She publishes extensively on human rights issues, particularly as the effect woman and children, and her new book, Women & Human Rights Law, was published by the University of North Carolina Academic Press in 2011.

Professor Steven Berenson (Veterans' Legal Assistance Clinic) founded and now supervises TJSL's Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, which provides a range of legal services to veterans living in San Diego communities. Following graduation from law school (where he served as Trial Operations Director of the Harvard Defenders), Professor Berenson clerked for Justice Edith W. Fine of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He then spent more than five years as an Assistant Massachusetts Attorney General, where he focused on civil litigation in the areas of administrative, constitutional and consumer protection law. During that time, Professor Berenson also served as a Supreme Court Fellow with the National Association of Attorneys General. He regularly publishes work dealing with the role of lawyers in protecting individuals civil and constitutional rights.

Associate Professor Ilene Durst (Immigration Law, Refugee and Asylum Law) focuses her scholarship on language and narrative theory, with particular application to appellate advocacy, immigration law and the literary representation of the legal culture. Before joining TJSL she clerked for the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department and had extensive litigation and immigration law experience with law firms and public service organizations in New York. Here publications include "Lost in Translation: Why Due Process Demands Deference to the Refugee's Narrative" in the Rutgers Law Review.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Keller (International Criminal Law, International Issues in U.S. Death Penalty Law) is a leading expert on international human rights, including torture and the death penalty. She previously served as Fellow for the Center for Human Rights at the University of Miami School of Law. Her recent work has focused on victims rights and other issues related to the International Criminal Court, and includes "Achieving Peace with Justice: The International Criminal Court and Ugandan Alternative Justice Mechanisms," in the Connecticut Journal of International Law, and "The False Dichotomy of Peace versus Justice and the International Criminal Court" in The Hague Justice Journal.

Associate Professor Luz Herrera (Civil Justice Seminar) has worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on empowerment zones and at the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. Before coming to Thomas Jefferson, she opened her own practice serving the under-privileged community in Compton, California. She now supervises TJSL’s transactional clinic, which provides legal services to underprivileged communities in San Diego County.