Rachel López

Crane Fellow in Law and Public Policy 2023-24

A faculty member at the Kline School of Law for 10 years, López writes, teaches, and practices in the areas of criminal law, public international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, and post-conflict and transitional justice.

She has held visiting fellowships at research institutions around the world, including the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale Law School, the University of Cambridge, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. In 2016, López researched transitional justice in Guatemala and Spain as a Fulbright Scholar.

López’s award-winning scholarship primarily focuses on state responsibility for mass atrocity, transitional justice, and the carceral state, with a particular focus on Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. She is also pioneering a new genre of legal scholarship called Participatory Law Scholarship, which is written in collaboration with authors who have no formal legal training, but rather expertise in law’s injustice through lived experience. One of these works, “Redeeming Justice,” which was published in the Northwestern University Law Review, was awarded the 2022 Law and Society Association Article Prize. López recently joined leading human rights experts as a co-author of the first law school textbook focused on domestic human rights in the U.S., Human Rights Advocacy in the United States (West, 2023).

She is currently a Special Advisor of the Latin American and Caribbean Law Council for the American Bar Association, co-chair of the American Society for International Law’s Transitional Justice & Rule of Law Interest Group, and chair-elect of the AALS Section on International Human Rights. Additionally, she co-founded the LSA’s Collaborative Research Network on Transitional Justice. Her writing and commentary have been featured in numerous media outlets. She has also testified at hearings before the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Philadelphia City Council.

Prior to joining the faculty at the Kline School, López taught at Seton Hall University School of Law and served as a Cooperating Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has clerked on the New Mexico Supreme Court and worked at the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the Citizen Governance Initiatives in Cameroon.

López received her B.A. in sociology, political science, and international studies from Northwestern University and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. She also has an LL.M. in French and European law from Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. At SPIA, López will work to finish a book, Constructing Justice after Atrocity: Guatemala’s Fight for “Never Again,” which draws on her earlier field research as a Fulbright Scholar in Guatemala and Spain.