Eva S. Nilsen

Clinical Associate Professor of Law Emerita

BA, magna cum laude, Yale University
JD, University of Virginia Law School
LLM, Georgetown University Law Center


Professor Eva Nilsen has been a key member of the Criminal Justice Clinic’s faculty since 1979. Over the years, she has trained and supervised hundreds of third-year law students as they defend indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor cases. She also has taught criminal justice courses and seminars, including advanced criminal procedure, sentencing theory and a seminar based on U.S. drug policy.

“I never tire of my role as both an actor and critic in the criminal justice system,” she says. “Each semester, students are able to help clients who would not have received justice but for the students’ efforts. My research areas overlap closely with my teaching and representation of indigent defendants.”

Professor Nilsen has been a visiting professor at Pakistan’s University of Punjab Law College and at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand, where she evaluated the law school’s clinical program and authored a report on legal education and curricular reform. Early in her career, she was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University, where she tried criminal cases and supervised law students who represented indigent criminal defendants. Active in a number of professional associations, she now serves on the Board of Directors of the Suffolk County Lawyers for Justice.

Her current research and writing focuses on a critique of state and national drug policies. She has written a number of articles that have appeared in leading law journals including “Policing for Profit: The Drug War’s Hidden Economic Agenda,” “One Strike and You’re Out? Constitutional Constraints on Zero Tolerance in Public Education” and “How to Construct an Underclass, or How the War on Drugs Became a War on Education.”

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