A man in a black-and-white suit smiles for the camera.
June 16, 2023

ASU Law welcomes distinguished visiting professor this fall

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law will welcome the esteemed David Lopez to Phoenix this fall as a visiting distinguished professor of law. 

He will be teaching a course called “Law and the Legal System through the Lens of Latinx/a/o Communities”, which explores how legal structures shape the experiences of various Latinx communities in the U.S. The class will address topics such as colonialism and Puerto Rico, immigration including the rise of ‘crimmigration,’ Latina/os in the carceral system, language,  intersectionality and Latina feminism, colorism and the Latino community, labor organizing, and movement lawyering. He has previously taught the course at Harvard University and New York University.

“It's interdisciplinary, so I actually introduce music and humanities to create a different entry point to discuss some of these issues in terms of legal structures and cases,” he said. 

While at ASU Law, Lopez is also set to give a public lecture on themes from the course and how they relate to Arizona.

Lopez is co-dean emeritus, university professor, professor of law and Professor Alfred Slocum Scholar at Rutgers Law School. From 2018-21, he served as dean of the Rutgers Law School-Newark campus. A labor and employment law expert, he has also taught civil rights and social mobilization courses. 

Prior to serving as dean, he was the partner-in-charge of Outten and Golden, a plaintiff-side civil rights/class action firm, leading the firm's Washington D.C. office. He also served for six years as the general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for which he was nominated twice by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. 

A Phoenix native and a proud alum of Arizona State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and helped create the university’s Hispanic Convocation, Lopez is excited to return home – if only for a short time. 

“I've been on the East Coast and it was really important for me to go home to Arizona,” he said. “I am tethered in my heart to my alma mater.”

One of his goals for the course is to create allyship and empathy among the students, regardless of their background, and spur academic work. According to Lopez, students in the course often generate two or three published papers each year. 

“I think what I've been trying to do with this project over the long-term is to build and generate and create original research that focuses on issues often forgotten in law schools, and I think I’ve done that,” he said. 

Written by Lindsay Walker