Maurice R. Dyson

Maurice Dyson
Professor of Law
J.D. Columbia University School of Law, with honors distinctions;
A. B. Columbia College, Columbia University, Deans List, King's Crown Scholar
Phone: (619) 961-4230

Following graduation from Columbia Law School as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Professor Dyson practiced law with the firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, securities and leverage buyouts valued at approximately $166 billion. Professor Dyson has also participated in the landmark school finance litigation and in federal civil rights enforcement as the Special Projects team attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) where he was recognized for his work in inter-district funding cases.  A member of the Bar of the U.S Supreme Court, he has also served as the national chairperson of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Education Law, the national executive board member of the AALS Section of Minority Groups, and a program coordinator of the Merrill Lynch Philanthropic Foundation recognized by the White House.  In addition, he has served as educational policy adviser to the Texas State Legislature Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance, and has taught law on the faculties of Columbia University, the City University of New York, and Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Professor Dyson is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious King's Crown Award, the Kluge Award, the Albert Roothbert Endowment, the Lester A. and Stella Porter Russell Endowment, the Society of the Order of the Barristers, the Taft Samuel Carpenter Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 50 under 50 most influential law professors national list. Professor Dyson has also published Our Promise, a book analyzing educational policy and numerous articles in education, civil rights, game theory, government, constitutional law, sociology and critical race theory among others.  He is also the faculty co-founder of the Crawford Legal Institute Mentorship Bond (CLIMB) program, an educational pipeline mentorship initiative with Crawford High School that recently won the California State Bar Diversity Award for Excellence.

Fun Fact: Professor Dyson is a visual artist who has painted murals throughout New York City, and is a published poet who runs his own philanthropic foundation which provides educational scholarships and domestic abuse relocation assistance. 

Courses include:

Education Equality and The Law, Torts I & II, Global Justice, Self-Determination & The Law, Scholarly Legal Writing.


Our Promise: Achieving Educational Equity for America’s Children (Maurice R. Dyson & Daniel B. Weddle eds., Carolina Academic Press, 2009)

Articles, Book Chapters, And Article-Length Works

Helen Palsgraf: Invisible, Silent & Marginalized , in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018)

Excessive Force, Bias & Criminal Justice Reform: Proposals for Congressional Action, 63 Loy. L. Rev. 27 (2017), reprinted in Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fees Handbook, Vol. 33 (2017)

Rethinking Rodriguez After Citizens United: The Poor As A Suspect Class In High Poverty Schools, 24 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol'y 1 (2016)

Still Using The Wrong Yardstick: Measuring Quality by the Proxies of Rumor, Bias and Conformity, 31 Colum. J. Gender & L. 154 (2015)

Promise Zones, Poverty & the Future of Public Schools: Confronting the Challenges of Socioeconomic Integration & School Culture in High Poverty Schools, 2014 Mich. St. L. Rev. 711 (2014)

Silencing Race & The First Amendment: The Suppression of Student Expression & Curricular Coverage of Racial Identity and Ethnic Solidarity in K-12 Education, 81 UMKC L. Rev. 569 (2013)

Are We Really Racing to The Top or Leaving Behind the Bottom? Challenging Conventional Wisdom and Dismantling Institutional Repression, 40 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 181 (2012)

The Hidden Law: Uncovering the Spiritual Foundations for Transformative Legal Reform, 4 J. App. Econ. 167 (2010)

Bringing Every Child Forward: Lessons Learned Under No Child Left Behind & a Road Map for Obama’s Educational Reform, 19 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 63 (2009) (with Philip T.K. Daniel)

De Facto Segregation & Group Blindness: Proposals for Narrow Tailoring under a New Viable State Interest in PICS v. Seattle School District, 77 UMKC L. Rev. 697 (2009)

When Government is a Passive Participant in Private Discrimination: A Critical Look at White Privilege & the Tacit Return to Interposition in PICS v. Seattle School District, 40 U. Tol. L. Rev. 145 (2008)

Awakening an Empire of Liberty: Exploring the Roots of Socractic Inquiry & Political Nihilism in American Democracy, 83 St. Louis L. Rev. 575 (currently Wash. U.L.Q.) (2005)

Towards an Establishment Clause Theory of Race-Based Allocation: Administering Race-Conscious Financial Aid after Grutter and Zelman, 14 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 237 (2005)

Racial Free-Riding the Coattails of a Dream Deferred: Can I Borrow Your Social Capital? 13 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts J. 967 (2005)

The Death of Robin Hood? Proposals to Overhaul Public School Finance, 11 Geo. J. On Poverty L. & Pol'y 1 (2004)

Putting Quality Back Into Equality: The Constitutionality of Charter School Enabling Legislation in a Post-Grutter Era, 36 Rutgers L.J. 1 (2004)

Playing Games with Equality: A Game-Theoretic Critique of Educational Sanctions, Remedies and Strategic Noncompliance, 77 Temp. L. Rev. 577 (2004)

Multiracial Identity, Monoracial Authenticity & Racial Privacy: Towards an Adequate Theory of Multiracial Resistance, 9 Mich. J. Race & L. 387 (2004)

Safe Rules or Gay Schools: The Dilemma of Sexual Orientation Segregation in Public Education, 7 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 183 (with N. Harris) (2004)

In Search of the Talented Tenth: Diversity, Affirmative Access, and University-Driven Reform, 6 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 41 (2003)

Leave No Child Behind: Normative Proposals to Link Educational Adequacy Claims and High Stakes Assessment Due Process Challenges, 7 Tex. F. On C.L. & C.R. 1 (2002)

School Finance and Educational Ultimatums: A Look at School Funding Implications for Public School Accountability, 2 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 1 (2002)

A Covenant Broken: The Crisis of Educational Remedy for New York City's Failing Schools, 44 How. L.J. 107 (2000)

Rethinking School-Community Collaboration: The Role of Non-Profit Mergers & Joint Ventures in Remedial Education and Social Service Delivery, 16 Natl. Black L.J. 35 (1998) (Note)

Other Scholarship:

Download a list of Shorter Work for Professor Dyson

Pursuing Excellence: Diversity In Higher Education, Women & the Law Conference, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA (February 5, 2016)

School To Prison Pipeline & The Prison Industrial Complex, Race, Poverty & Mass Incarceration, University of San Francisco School of Law, USD Law and the Western Regional BLSA , University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego (January 10, 2016)

Challenging Adequacy Notions in School Finance, Education Summit, National Bar Association, Washington University School of Law at St. Louis, St Louis, MO (April 24, 2015)

National Bar Association Education Summit, Washington University School of Law at St. Louis, St. Louis, MO (March 10, 2015)

The More Things Change…: Exploring Solutions to Persisting Discrimination in Legal Academia, AALS Cross-Cutting Program, Washing, D.C. (January 29, 2015)

Dismantling the School To Prison Pipeline, School to Prison Pipeline Roundtable, KPBS Radio & the Anti-Defamation League, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego (September 19, 2014)

The 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, UMKC Law School, in conjunction with Michigan State Law School , Kansas City, MO (April 11, 2014)

The CLIMB Mentorship Pipeline Project: A Response To The School-To-Prison Pipeline Crisis, Public Interest Law Foundation, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA (November 14, 2012)

The First Amendment & the School House, 40 Years of Landmark School Speech Cases: Through the Eyes of Those Who Were There, UMKC Law School, Kansas City, MO (September 20, 2012)

Faculty Guest Speaker, CLIMB Program, Crawford Legal Institute Mentorship Bond Program, Crawford High School, San Diego, CA (March 29, 2012)

Race to the Top Initiative, Washington University Law School, St. Louis, MO (March 21, 2012)

The elimination of bias in the practice of law, California Foothills Bar Association , El Cajon, CA (January 9, 2012)

The Pipeline: An Examination of Minority Male Recruitment and Retention in U.S. Law Schools, Black Male Initiative, City University of New York School of Law, Flushing, NY, Mar 26 - 27, 2009

Educational Finance and Funding, A New Wave of School Finance, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Mid-Atlantic People of Color Conference, Philadelphia, PA, Jan 24, 2009

Education and the Economy, Discriminatory School Resource Allocation in PICS v. Seattle School District No. 1, Northeast People of Color Conference, Boston University School of Law, Boston, MA, Sept 25, 2008

Racial Discrimination and Accountability in U.S. Public Education: A Closer Look at the Nation's Compliance Under The Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Treaty, Law and Society Conference, Montreal, Canada, 2008

Brown Undone? The Future of Integration in Seattle after PICS v. SSD No. 1, Seattle University School of Law, Achieving Racial Diversity in the Classroom after PICS c. SSD In A Legal and Socially Responsible Manner, 2008

Center for Constitutional and Humanitarian Law, American University College of Law, panel entitled Discrimination in Public Education: Intent v. Impact?, Discrimination in The Discriminatory Impact of U.S. Education Law on the Human Rights of Racial Minorities: Who's Really Being Left Behind?, 2007

School Transfers, Charter Schools and School Funding, invited at the University of Toledo School of Law, Jan. 29, 2007

African American Charter Schools, Robin Hood & The No Child Left Behind Act: A Triple Entendre in the Battle For Educational Equality, presented at Florida A&M University College of Law, Jan. 10, 2007

2007 AALS Annual Education Law Section Panel, conceived, organized, moderated and panelists selected by Maurice Dyson, The Assault on Academic Freedom in the Academy: Exploring the Intersectionalities of Race, Religion and Gender in Higher Education, co-sponsored in conjunction with the Section on Minority Groups, Jan. 4, 2007

Charter Schools, the No Child Left Behind Act: Avenues for Reform, presented at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Dec. 12, 2006

Choice & The Illusion of Choice, Valparaiso University School of Law, Valparaiso, IN (December 14, 2006)

Reinforcing School Choice Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act: Possible Solutions for Systematic Reform, presented at Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, Dec. 8, 2006

The No Child Left Behind Act & Wealth Recapture, presented at Drexel University College of Law, Oct. 20, 2006

2006 AALS Speaker: The Clash of the Titans: (Section on Education Law, Washington, D.C.)

2006 Annual AALS Minority Groups Section Panel, The Fate of Minority Inter-Group Collaboration or Conflict, conceived, organized, moderated and panelists selected by Maurice Dyson (invited speaker for January 2006, Section on Education Law)

The Role of Education In The Poor People's Campaign, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX (January 22, 2005)

Educational Experts: School Finance & Legislative Issues: A Talk With SMU Prof. Maurice Dyson, 2005

2nd Northeast Regional People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: America, Race, and Law at the Crossroads, Hosted at The George Washington University Law School, Oct. 2004

Opportunity To Learn discussing Dyson, Leave No Child Behind: Normative Proposals To Link Educational Adequacy Claims To High Stakes Assessment Challenges, sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley and the Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE, Oct. 2003

Critical Race Theory Workshop, American University Washington College of Law sponsored by Darren Hutchinson, Pamela Bridgewater, Devon Carbado, Letti Volp and others, Apr. 2003

School Funding and Educational Ultimatums: A Look At School Funding Implications For Public School Accountability, presented at The Educational Funding Deficit, sponsored by the University of Connecticut Law School & the University of Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Apr. 2002

Finance and Educational Ultimatums: A Look At School Funding Implications For Public School Accountability, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, 2002 symposium

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law faculty is highly prolific in the field of legal scholarship and our professors are in demand as speakers and panelists at legal events in the U.S. and abroad.

Professor Maurice Dyson Speaks at Major MLK Commemoration

April 5, 2018

Professor Maurice Dyson moderated a lively panel at the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association MLK Commemoration Luncheon in San Diego. The 50th...

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Students and Professor Maurice Dyson speak at the National Action Network House of Justice

March 12, 2018

On Tuesday, March 6, 2018, students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law were invited to join Professor of Law Maurice Dyson at the National...

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Dyson gave address during National Action Network's "Revival of the Movement"

February 23, 2018

It was a rousing, inspirational evening at the Jacobs Center on Euclid Avenue to celebrate the National Action Network's "Revival of the Movement...

Thomas Jefferson School of Law's CLIMB Program Enters Its 7th Year

April 26, 2017

On April 13th, the Crawford Legal Institute Mentorship Bond Program (CLIMB) completed its seventh year of operations with the largest ever group...

Orgs Provide Forum to Examine Dynamics Between Law Enforcement & Community

February 23, 2015

By Lilia Rodriguez 2L, BLSA and La Raza member

In light of Black History Month and the growing national concern about...

Civil & Human Rights

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Constitutional Law

Education Law


Race and the Law


  • Torts