Portia Pedro

Portia Pedro

Associate Professor of Law

BA, University of California, Los Angeles
JD, Harvard Law School
PhD, Yale University


Portia Pedro, a former public interest litigation fellow who also worked as a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, joined the full-time faculty of Boston University School of Law as an associate professor in July 2018. She teaches civil procedure, remedies, and critical civil procedure.

Professor Pedro studies the ways in which racial subordination and subordination of other marginalized groups is embedded in civil procedure, remedies, and federal courts. She attempts to identify the marginalizing effects of seemingly technocratic or neutral rules, mechanisms, and doctrines in order to work against inequality that is embedded in the structure of the U.S. legal system. Her co-edited book volume, A Guide to Civil Procedure: Integrating Critical Legal Perspectives (NYU Press), is a resource of critical legal perspectives about civil procedure that focus on issues such as race, sex, gender identity and expression, disability, class, immigration status, and sexual orientation. Her scholarship has been published, or is forthcoming, in journals including the California Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Stanford Journal on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Virginia Law Review Online.

During her two years as a litigation associate at Debevoise in New York, Professor Pedro conducted motions practice, second-seated a trial, prepared witnesses for federal investigations, and litigated class action claims. She also practiced law for two years as a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons PC in Newark, New Jersey, where she litigated civil rights claims, negotiated attorneys’ fees, and filed amicus briefs. Professor Pedro co-authored briefs that secured marriage equality for same-sex couples in New Jersey, and she successfully opposed a motion to dismiss the equal protection claims of Muslim plaintiffs in New Jersey who were surveilled by the New York Police Department for their religious beliefs. Prior to her doctoral studies, Pedro served as a clerk to the Honorable Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Professor Pedro is completing her PhD in Law at Yale Law School with a research focus on civil procedure. She holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in International Development Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. At Harvard Law School, she served as treasurer and vice president of the Harvard Law Review, as an editor of the BlackLetterLaw Journal and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and as Harvard Black Law Students Association’s political chair.


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  • Brooke Coleman, Suzette Malveaux, Portia Pedro, Elizabeth Porter & Jasmine Gonzales Rose, A Guide to Civil Procedure: Integrating Critical Legal Perspectives (2022)
    Scholarly Commons
  • Portia Pedro, A Prelude to a Critical Race Perspective on Civil Procedure 107 Virginia Law Review (2021)
    Scholarly Commons
  • Portia Pedro, Toward Establishing a Pre-Extinction Definition of 'Nationwide Injunctions' 91 University of Colorado Law Review (2020)
    Scholarly Commons
  • Portia Pedro, Stays 106 California Law Review (2018)
    Scholarly Commons
  • Portia Pedro, Note, Making Ballot Initiatives Work: Some Assembly Required 123 Harvard Law Review (2010)
    Scholarly Commons
  • Portia Pedro, Recent Case, Ninth Circuit Considers Community's Racial Tension with Police in Finding Illegal Seizure and Lack of Voluntary Consent. — United States V. Washington, 490 F.3d 765 (9th Cir. 2007) 121 Harvard Law Review (2008)
    Scholarly Commons

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Critical Civil Procedure: LAW JD 765

3 credits

Many of our most famous--and infamous--cases are procedural. Because procedural rules allow, or restrict, access to justice, procedure is a central pressure point in the struggle to eradicate structural inequality and oppression through the courts. This seminar will focus on the ways in which aspects of civil procedure decrease or perpetuate structural inequality for marginalized communities, especially regarding issues such as race, sex, gender, disability, nationality/immigration status, sexual orientation, and religion. We will read short, provocative essays to analyze which communities do, and do not, get a fair opportunity to have their claim or defense heard in court. From a critical perspective, we will engage in a discourse about the procedural, structural limitations on social justice. Another goal of this seminar is to explore a more complex view of our professional roles as attorneys. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: This class may not be used to satisfy the requirement. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2023: LAW JD 765 A1 , Jan 23rd to Apr 24th 2023
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Portia PedroStaff LAW 417

Remedies : LAW JD 720

3 credits

The study of law largely involves understanding the substantive scopes of rights and of prohibitions, but, for the bar examination, for practice, and for intellectually engaging with legal topics conceptually, it is essential to understand what the potential solutions are for a wronged person or entity. Remedies is devoted to developing that latter understanding. In this course, we will explore the legal powers and limits for righting those who have been wronged and for preventing future wrongs. This course includes both public law and private law remedies with a particular focus on social justice and remedial topics that are generally not covered within the 1L curriculum or other required courses. In addition to helping to prepare students for bar examinations (which often test for remedies in civil procedure, contracts, property, and torts), examining remedial principles in this course will be useful to those encountering remedies problems in litigation across substantive fields. This course also covers historically-important and current, hot topics such as reparations, impact injunctions against governmental defendants (so-called "nationwide" or "universal" injunctions), and court-debt related remedies (such as litigation challenging drivers' license suspensions due to nonpayment of fines). UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: Class of 2024 -- This class may be used to partially satisfy the requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

SPRG 2023: LAW JD 720 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 26th 2023
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon,Wed 2:30 pm 3:55 pm 3 Portia PedroStaff LAW 420