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Audience in Lecture






Professor of Law


Yale Law School


James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools, Brown University and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He previously taught at Georgetown Law from 2003 to 2011, and from 1994 to 2000, he worked for the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where he represented juveniles and adults in serious felony cases. In 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, which combines rigorous education, job training, counseling, mental health services, life skills, and dormitory living for school dropouts and youth who have previously been incarcerated. In 2007 Maya Angelou took over the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison and, according to the court monitor overseeing D.C.’s juvenile system, has turned it into"an extraordinary educational program." James teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police. His 2017, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, explores the complicated and often conflicting attitudes towards crime and punishment in African-American communities. A Washington Post bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, Locking Up Our Own has been called “superb and shattering” in the New York Times, “eloquent” and “sobering” in the London Review of Books, and “moving, nuanced, and candid” in the New York Review of Books. New York Times book reviewer Jennifer Senior said Locking Up Our Own was “the best book I’ve read this year.” James was a 2007 inaugural Fellow for the Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Program, created by The Aspen Institute and the New Schools Venture Fund.

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