J.D. 2003, Columbia Law School
B.A. 1997, University of Michigan
Caroline Bettinger-López is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. She recently completed a two year term in the Obama Administration as the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and Senior Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. In Fall 2014, she was a Visiting Associate Clinical Professor and Acting Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.
Professor Bettinger-López’s scholarship, practice, and teaching concern international human rights law and policy advocacy, violence against women, gender and race discrimination, immigrants' rights, and clinical legal education. She focuses on the implementation of human rights norms at the domestic level, principally in the United States and Latin America. Professor Bettinger-López regularly litigates and engages in other forms of advocacy before the Inter-American Human Rights system, the United Nations, federal and state courts, and legislative bodies.
Professor Bettinger-López is lead counsel on Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011), the first international human rights case brought by a domestic violence victim against the U.S. She has worked extensively with advocates and government officials in Canada on issues of violence against Indigenous women and girls, and collaborated with local advocates in Miami and Haiti to challenge U.S. deportations to post-earthquake Haiti.
Her work has appeared in numerous journals, law reviews, and online and traditional media, including: Harvard Human Rights Law Journal, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, American Journal of International Law, Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, and Jotwell.
Before joining Miami Law, Professor Bettinger-López was the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Institute and Lecturer-in-Law and Acting Director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. There, she helped to coordinate the Human Rights in the U.S. Project and the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network, a network of over 900 lawyers who are actively involved in domestic human rights strategies in the U.S. Before that, Professor Bettinger-López worked as a Skadden Fellow/Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, Women's Rights Project, where she focused on employment, housing, civil, and human rights of domestic violence survivors; and as a law clerk for Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York.
Prior to her legal career, Professor Bettinger-López worked in the Miami Beach public schools, where she engaged in social services advocacy and youth education centered on women and girls’ empowerment, as well as anti-violence programming. She also lived and worked in and Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti as a secondary school teacher.
Professor Bettinger-López earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar; and a B.A. from the University of Michigan, where she studied cultural anthropology and earned Highest Honors for her senior thesis, which was later published as a book, Cuban-Jewish Journeys: Searching for Identity, Home, and History in Miami (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2000).