Laura E. Gómez rejoined the faculty of UCLA School of Law in 2011 after serving as professor of law and American studies at the University of New Mexico from 2005-10. Before joining the UNM faculty in 2005, Gómez spent 12 years as professor of law at UCLA Law School (where she also was appointed in the Sociology Department). She was a co-founder and the first co-director (with Professor Jerry Kang) of UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program.
Professor Gómez teaches in the areas of race and the law, law and society, constitutional law, civil procedure, and criminal law. She has lectured widely and has published numerous articles, book chapters and op-ed commentaries, as well as two books. Her scholarship has focused on the intersection of law, politics and social stratification in both contemporary and historical contexts. In her 2007 book, Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race, Professor Gómez examines how law and racial ideology intersected to create new racial groups and to re-structure the turn-of-the-twentieth century racial order in the U.S. In several new projects with sociologist Nancy López, she explores the legacy of that racial order for the contemporary study of “race” by scholars in the social, biological and health sciences.
Professor Gómez is active in several national scholarly organizations, including the Law and Society Association, where she just completed a two-year term as president. As an associate editor of the Law & Society Review, she worked to produce a special issue on law and racial inequality, published in 2010. Professor Gómez has been a peer reviewer for several other journals in legal studies, gender studies, Chicano/a studies, legal history and sociology, and she has been a member of the editorial boards of SIGNS and Studies in Law, Politics and Society. She has held prestigious residential fellowships at the School for American Research in Santa Fe and the Stanford Humanities Center in Palo Alto.
Professor Gómez received an A.B. from Harvard in Social Studies (where she was a Harry S. Truman Scholar), an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University (where she had a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship), and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Following law school, Professor Gómez clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson. Before going to Stanford, she worked as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.