Faculty & Staff




Professor of Law Emeritus
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Centennial Professor


BA, Haverford College, 1965
JD, Yale Law School, 1969


Professor Lawrence joined the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2008 from Georgetown. He began his teaching career at the University of San Francisco in 1974, was a tenured professor at Stanford and Georgetown, and has visited several other schools, including Harvard, Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Southern California. Professor Lawrence is best known for his prolific work in antidiscrimination law, equal protection, and critical race theory. His most recent book, We Won’t Go Back: Making the Case for Affirmative Action (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), was co-authored by Professor Mari Matsuda.

Professor Lawrence received the University of San Francisco School of Law’s Most Distinguished Professor Award; the John Bingham Hurlburt Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented by the 1990 graduating class of Stanford Law School; and the Society of American Law Teachers national teaching award. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Haverford College, Georgetown University, most recently, In December of 2019, he also received an honorary Doctorate  from Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. He served as a member of the District of Columbia Board of Education and on many other public interest boards.

Keynote Address: 2013 Access to Justice Conference

Commencement Address: 2017 Georgetown Law Commencement Ceremony



  • We Won’t Go Back: Making the Case for Affirmative Action, Houghton-Mifflin (1997) (with Matsuda)
  • Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and The First Amendment, Westview Press (1993) (with Matsuda, Delgado and Crenshaw)
  • The Bakke Case: The Politics of Inequality, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1979) (with Dreyfuss)

Chapters in Books

  • Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. #1, In, Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and the Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (2022), B. Capers, D. Carbado, R. Lenhardt, & A. Onwuachi-Willig (Eds.). 
  • Each Other’s Harvest, In, Carving Out a Humanity: Race, Rights, and Redemption, The New Press, (2020), J. Bell, & V. Southerland (Eds.).
  • “Education Law:  Unconscious Racism and the Conversation About the Racial Achievement Gap” in Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law, Justin D. Levinson & Robert J. Smith, Editors, Cambridge University Press, (2012) SSRN Synopsis
  • “Critical Race Reconstructions: Japanese/Asian-American Interventions in the Black-White Paradigm of American Racial Discourse” in Racial Representations of Japanese/Asian Americans, Yasuko Takezawa, Ed., Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University, (2011)
  • “On Racist Speech” in 75 Arguments, Alan Ainsworth, ed., McGraw-Hill, (2007)
  • “Acknowledging the Victim’s Cry” in Experiencing Race, Class and Gender in the United States, Roberta Fiske-Rusciano, ed., McGraw-Hill (2008)
  • “Race, Multiculturalism, and the Jurisprudence of Transformation” in Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader, 455-457 (Kevin R. Johnson ed., New York: New York University Press 2003).
  • “Who are We? And Why are We Here? Doing Critical race Theory in Hard Times” in Crossroads, Directions and a New Critical Race Theory, Valdes, Culp and Harris, Editors, Temple University Press, (2002)
  • “Segregation Misunderstood: The Milliken Decision Revisited” in In Pursuit of a Dream Deferred: Linking Housing and Education Policy, 183-208 (john a. powell, Gavin Kearney & Vina Kay eds., New York: P. Lang 2001).
  • “The Message of the Verdict: A Three Act Morality Play Starring Clarence Thomas, Willie Smith and Mike Tyson” in Black Men on Race, Gender, and Sexuality, Devon Carbado, Editor, New York University Press, (1999)
  • “Race and Affirmative Action: A Critical Race Perspective” in The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique, 3rd ed., David Kairys, editor, Basic Books, (1998)
  • “The Message of the Verdict: A Three-Act Morality Play Starring Clarence Thomas, Willie Smith, and Mike Tyson” in Race, Gender and Power in America, Anita Faye Hill and Emma Coleman Jordan, editors, Oxford University Press (1995)
  • “Cross Burning and the Sound of Silence: Anti-Subordination Theory and the First Amendment” in The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate Propaganda and Pornography, Laura Lederer and Richard Delgado, editors, Hill and Wang (1995)
  • “Listening to the Lessons of Our History: African Americans, Hate Speech, and the First Amendment” in African Americans and the Living Constitution, John Hope Franklin and Genna Rae McNeil, editors, Smithsonian Institution Press (1995)
  • “Advice for Minority Students” in Looking at Law School, 3d ed., Stephen Gillers, Editor, New American Library (1990)
  • “First Amendment Critique of Schooling” in Public School Monopoly, Everhart, Editor (1980)
  • “‘One More River to Cross’ Recognizing the Real Injury in Brown: A Prerequisite to Shaping New Remedies” in Shades of Brown: New Perspectives on School Desegregation, Derrick Bell, Editor, Columbia Teacher’s College Press (1980)
  • “Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System” in Challenges and Alternatives to the Criminal Justice System, Allen Clavin, Editor, Monograph Publishing Series (1979)


  • Book Review, “Implicit Bias in the Age of Trump,” 133 Harv. L. Rev. 2304 (2020) Harvard Law Review
  • “The Fire This Time: Black Lives Matter, Abolitionist Pedagogy and the Law,” 65 Journal of Legal Education 381, (2015). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Passing and Trespassing in the Academy: On Whiteness as Property and Racial Performance as Political Speech,” 31 Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice 9, (2015). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Local Kine Implicit Bias: Unconscious Racism Revisited (Yet Again),” 37 U. Haw. L. Rev. 457, (2015). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “‘Acting Our Color’: Racial Re-Construction and Identity as Acts of Resistance,” 18 UCLA Asian Pacific Amer. Law Journal 21, (2013). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Listening for Stories in All the Right Places: Narrative and Racial Formation Theory,” 46 Law and Society Review Number 2 (2012). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Unconscious Racism Revisited: Reflections on the Impact and Origins of The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection” 40 Conn. L. Rev. 931, (2008). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Who is the child Left Behind?: The Racial Meaning of the New School Reform,” 39 Suffolk L. Rev. 699 (2006). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Forbidden Conversations: On Race Privacy and Community (A Continuing Conversation with John Ely on Racism and Democracy,” 114 Yale Law Journal 1353, (2005). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Still Blaming the Victim,” Boston Review: A Political and Literary Forum, Vol. 28, Nos. 3-5, (Summer 2003). ScholarSpace
  • “Two Views of the River: A Critique of the Liberal Defense of Affirmative Action,” 101 Col. L. Rev. 928, (2001). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Each Other’s Harvest: Diversity’s Deeper Meaning,” 31 U.S.F. L. Rev. 757, (1997). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Race, Multiculturalism, and the Jurisprudence of Transformation,” 47 Stan. L. Rev. 819, (1995). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “The Epidemiology of Color-Blindness: Learning to Think and Talk About Race Again,” 15 Boston College Third World L. J. 1, (1995). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Crossburning and The Sound of Silence: Antisubordination Theory and The First Amendment,” 37 Vill. L. Rev. 787 (1992). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “The Word and The River: Pedagogy as Scholarship as Struggle,” 65 S. Cal. L. Rev. 2231 (1992). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Cringing at Myths of Black Sexuality,” 65 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1357 (1992). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Doing the ‘James Brown’ at Harvard: Professor Derrick Bell as Liberationist Teacher,” 8 Harv. Blackletter J. 263 (1991). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “If He Hollers Let Him Go: Regulating Racist Speech on Campus,” 1990 Duke Law Journal 431 (1990). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “The Id, The Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism,” 39 Stan. L. Rev. 317 (1987). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Promises to Keep: We Are the Constitution’s Framers,” 30 Howard L.J. 645 (1987). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Minority Hiring in the A.A.L.S. Law Schools: The Need for Voluntary Quotas,” 20 U.S.F. L. Rev. 429 (1986). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “A Dream: On Discovering the Significance of Fear,” 10 Nova L. Rev. 627 (1986). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Book Review, “Education for Self-Government: Reassessing the Role of the Public School in a Democracy,” 82 Mich. L. Rev. 810 (1984). HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Book Review/Essay “‘Justice’ or ‘Just Us’: Racism and Role of Ideology,” 35 Stan. L. Rev. 831 (1983). HeinOnline(link is external)
  • “The Manipulation of Consciousness: A First Amendment Critique of Schooling,” 15 Harv. Civil Rights Liberties L. Rev. 309 (1980). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “The Bakke Case: Are Racial Quotas Defensible?” Saturday Review, October 15, 1977
  • “Segregation Misunderstood: The Milliken Decision Revisited,” 12 U.S.F. L. Rev. 15 (1977). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “When Defendants are Foxes Too: The Need for Intervention by Minorities in ‘Reverse Discrimination’ Suits,” 34 Guild Practitioner 1 (1977). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “Free Schools: Public and Private and Black and White,” Inequality in Education, Issue No. 3 (1969)


  • Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, conferred by Nelson Mandela University, December 10, 2019
  • Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, conferred by Georgetown University, May 21, 2017
  • Derrick Bell Legacy Award, Critical Race Studies in Education Association, 2013
  • Society of American Law Teachers Teaching Award, January 4, 2003
  • John Carroll Research Professor, 2002 -2003
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, conferred by Haverford College, December 2, 2000
  • The Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America (1998), (with Mari J. Matsuda) for We Won’t Go Back: Making the Case for Affirmative Action
  • The Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America (1994), for Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1990-1991)
  • John Bigham Hurlburt Award for Excellence in Teaching, Presented by the graduating class of Stanford Law School (1990)
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship (1982-1985)
  • University of San Francisco School of Law’s “Most Distinguished Professor Award” (1978)
  • The National Black Law Students’ Association’s “Paul Robeson Service Award” (1978)
  • Outstanding Contribution Award, National Black Police Association (1976)

Related News

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