Susan teaches and writes about civil rights legal history, employment discrimination, labor and employment law, legal ethics, and the history and sociology of the legal profession. She is the author of Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. In 2014 she received the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Award for “the author of the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present.” She has published numerous articles examining lawyers’ conceptions of their professional obligations to further the public interest in journals including the Cornell Law Review, Fordham Law Journal, Florida Law Review, Harvard Journal of Gender and the Law, American University Law Review, and Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. She is also editor of Lawyers’ Ethics and the Pursuit of Social Justice (NYU Press Critical America Series 2005), which collects work in the emerging field of critical legal ethics scholarship.
In 2001, her paper entitled “Race, Class and Legal Ethics in the Early NAACP” received the Association of American Law Schools’ Best Scholarly Paper Award, and in 2006 she received the Jean and Edgar Kahn National Equal Justice Library Award for distinguished scholarship on the subject of access to justice. She has served as this law school’s first Associate Dean for Scholarship and as chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Professional Responsibility and its Professional Development Committee, and is a member of the legal ethics advisory committee of the National Disability Rights Network.
Susan attended Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of The Yale Law Journal. After graduation she clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and then worked as an appellate attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and at the leading union-side labor and employment law firm of Bredhoff & Kaiser. She was W.M. Keck Fellow in Legal Ethics at Georgetown University Law Center from 1995-97, and in 2006 served as Visiting Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School.