Karen Pita Loor

Associate Dean for Experiential Education

Clinical Associate Professor of Law

BS, magna cum laude, Barry University
JD, cum laude, Washington College of Law, American University

Areas of Interest
Criminal Law & Procedure, Immigrants’ Rights, Immigration Law & Policy, Protest Policing
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Biography

Read the Statement on Race, Equity & Justice from the Clinical & Experiential Faculty. Karen Pita Loor assumed her role of associate dean of clinical & experiential education on July 1, 2020 after eight years teaching and supervising student attorneys in the Defender Division of the BU Criminal Law Clinical Program as they represent indigent clients charged with crimes in the Boston District Court.  Loor also teaches a seminar that she developed entitled Regulation of the Immigrant Experience where students examine, through a legal lens, the obstacles immigrants face in American society.

As associate dean of experiential education, Loor understands that through BU Law’s various clinics, practicums, and externships,  students learn, engage in valuable public interest and service work, and build productive working relationships with practicing attorneys.  She views these programs as part of BU’s connection to and impact on its community, as BU Law students practice in local courts—and even on the world—as students travel on international legal services projects. Recognizing the impact that BU Law clinical students are having in real time and will have as practicing attorneys, Loor’s main priorities entail instituting training and support for students as they work to become culturally competent lawyers and encouraging them to explore systemic problems related to poverty, race, and other intersecting identities that affect the client population of many of the clinics.

Loor writes and speaks as an expert on issues related to protest policing, criminal law and procedure, police violence and immigrants’ rights.  She encourages students to use their education to join conversations around legal matters and does the same.  She has testified in support of legislation that would make Massachusetts a sanctuary state. She has organized trips – involving law students and other faculty — to the Mexican side of the border to assist migrants seeking asylum.  She supervised a group of students who filed an amicus brief in a first-of-its-kind case arguing that Massachusetts state and local law enforcement do not have the authority to detain a criminal defendant pursuant to an immigration detainer.

Loor initially joined the BU Law clinical faculty in 2011 after serving as a clinical associate professor with the Florida International University College of Law, supervising law students representing unaccompanied immigrant children in immigration and neglect proceedings. She started her legal career as a staff attorney at the premier public defender office in the country, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent clients in criminal trial and appellate matters.

Publications
  1. Karen Pita Loor, "Tear Gas + Water Hoses + Dispersal Orders: The Fourth Amendment Endorses Brutality in Protest Policing," in Symposium "Beyond Bad Apples: Exploring the Legal Determinants of Police Violence", 100 Boston University Law Review 817 (2020).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  2. Karen Pita Loor, "When Protest is the Disaster: Constitutional Implications of State and Local Emergency Power," 43 Seattle University Law Review 1 (2019).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  3. Karen Pita Loor, "A Study on Immigrant Activism, Secure Communities, and Rawlsian Civil Disobedience," 100 Marquette Law Review 565 (2016).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
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