Chad Dunn

Lecturer in Law

  • B.A. University of Texas at Austin 1999
  • J.D. South Texas College of Law 2002

Chad Dunn is an expert in state and federal voting rights and apportionment law. He is the co-founder and Legal Director of the UCLA Voting Rights Project, a joint program of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA School of Social Sciences. In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Dunn directs all of the litigation, appeals and scholarship of the Voting Rights Project. Chad teaches Voting Rights Policy and the Law, a multi-disciplinary course of law students and graduate public policy and social science students.  He is also the instructor for a voting rights practicum for UCLA Law Students.

Dunn has substantial experience in trial and appellate work on a broad variety of matters with an emphasis on voting rights, redistricting, sex discrimination under Title IX, prison conditions, police conduct, and government ethics. Dunn has tried dozens of jury and bench trials to verdict in state and federal courts and he has tried many voting rights cases to federal single judge and three-judge courts. He has argued before federal circuit courts of appeals on more than two dozen occasions and has argued before numerous state appellate courts. He routinely serves as counsel of record for clients in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Dunn was a lead trial lawyer in the three-judge federal case in Washington D.C. concerning Texas' voter photo identification law, in which the court enjoined Texas from implementing the law under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. After the Supreme Court effectively eliminated Section 5 with its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, Mr. Dunn was a lead counsel in the second federal court challenge to Texas's ID law, which Mr. Dunn argued at trial, twice to a Fifth Circuit panel and again en banc. After two U.S. Supreme Court appeals, the case ultimately resulted in the law being struck down again. Chad was also one of the trial attorneys in the three-judge federal court cases in Washington D.C. and San Antonio concerning Texas' 2011 state house, senate, and congressional redistricting plans. In 2019, he successfully challenged Texas's effort to purge naturalized citizens from its voting rolls.

Most recently, Mr. Dunn has challenged Texas's denial of vote-by-mail to citizens under age 65 as being violative of the 26th Amendment. In the same cycle, he challenged Texas Governor Gregg Abbott's decision to eliminate mail ballot drop locations after voting was underway. He was one of the attorneys who challenged Florida's efforts to charge fees and fines to former felons before they could register to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment. Along with Voting Rights Project attorneys, he has sued counties in Washington State for disproportionately rejecting the ballots of Latino/a citizens.

Chad has received many awards, including being named by Texas Lawyer as one of three finalist for Attorney of the Year in 2016, being named one of Texas Lawyer's top 25 attorneys under 40 in 2013, and has been named a Super Lawyer for over fifteen years. He is a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been a partner in his law firm, Brazil & Dunn, LLP since 2006.

Chad publishes on Voting Rights and Constitutional Law. As Legal Director for the Voting Rights Project, Chad leads an experienced team of voting rights lawyers, law fellows and law students in active litigation on important voting rights matters. He has overseen numerous Voting Rights Project publications including papers concerning voting procedures for use during a pandemic and a State Model Voting Rights Act. Recent publications include: Barreto, Matthew and Cohen, Michael and Collingwood, Loren and Dunn, Chad and Waknin, Sonni, A Novel Method for Showing Racially Polarized Voting: Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding (April 21, 2021). New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or; Chad W. Dunn et al., Legal Theories to Compel Vote-by-Mail in Federal Court, 11 Calif. L. Rev. Online 166 (May 2020) and UCLA Voting Rights Project, Vote-By-Mail Can Save Our Democracy, But Reforms are Needed, Nw. Univ. L. Rev. Of Note, (April 30, 2020).