Jyoti Nanda, a past Co-Director of the Critical Race Studies Program and a core faculty member in the David J. Epstein Public Interest Law Program, has been at UCLA School of Law since 2003. To date, Nanda has taught nearly 500 public interest minded law students. Professor Nanda has scholarship interests in social justice advocacy, civil rights, and the ways in which children and youth intersect with the juvenile justice system. Her latest article, “Blind Discretion: Girls of Color and Delinquency in the Juvenile Justice System” appeared in the UCLA Law Review.
Professor Nanda co-launched and teaches the Youth & Justice Clinic which seeks to serve the civil needs of detained children in Central Juvenile Hall, the largest juvenile detention center in Los Angeles County. This is the first clinic at UCLA School of Law to train students to represent detained youth. She also teaches the Public Interest section of the first year Lawyering Skills course and a doctrinal course on Juvenile Justice. She also has taught the public interest seminar and fact-investigation and public policy clinical courses.
In 2012, Professor Nanda co-chaired a national conference with the UCLA Law Review titled: “Underprotected & Overpoliced: Women, Race & Criminalization” that brought together academics and community activists. As a grant recipient from the Center for Community Foundation in 2008, she worked on the Juvenile Justice Project, a collaborative endeavor with the Learning Rights Law Center focused on addressing educational issues and the racial disparity within the juvenile delinquency system in Los Angeles County.
Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA School of Law, Professor Nanda was awarded a Skadden Fellowship – one of 25 prestigious fellowships awarded each year often called the “Legal Peace Corps” – to work as a staff attorney at the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF).* While at LDF, Professor Nanda helped file a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch alleging racially discriminatory hiring and firing practices.
Professor Nanda earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies/Rhetoric with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor of the Northwestern Law Review and was trained at the Children & Family Justice Center.
Professor Nanda currently serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the South Asian Network (SAN), a grass roots human rights organization based in Southern California. She has served as a past Board Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Alternative Dispute Resolution Center and as the Pro Bono Chair for the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of Southern California. In 2003, she was a principal co-founder of the SABA Public Interest Foundation which awards thousands of grants each year to public interest minded law students and non-profits. And shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, she co-founded 9/11 Legal Response Network, an anti-hate crimes advocacy group based in Los Angeles.
In April 2012, Nanda was selected by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for the prestigious Dream of Los Angeles Award. This is the highest award bestowed by the Mayor given to someone from humble beginnings who has had career success. In April 2014, she was awarded the SABA Public Interest Foundation Trailblazer Award..
* Although established by the NAACP, the LDF has been a separate and independent entity since 1940. LDF's founder and first Director-Counsel was the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.