Joanna C. Schwartz

Professor of Law

  • B.A. Brown University, 1994
  • J.D. Yale, 2000
  • UCLA Faculty Since 2006

Joanna Schwartz is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She teaches Civil Procedure and a variety of courses on police accountability and public interest lawyering. She received UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015, and served as Vice Dean for Faculty Development from 2017-2019.

Professor Schwartz is one of the country's leading experts on police misconduct litigation. Professor Schwartz additionally studies the dynamics of modern civil litigation. She is co-author, with Stephen Yeazell, of a leading casebook, Civil Procedure (10th Edition), and her recent scholarship includes articles empirically examining the justifications for qualified immunity doctrine; the financial impact of settlements and judgments on federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and agency budgets; and regional variation in civil rights protections across the country.

Professor Schwartz is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. After law school, Professor Schwartz clerked for Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York and Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was then associated with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, in New York City, where she specialized in police misconduct, prisoners' rights, and First Amendment litigation.


  • Books
    • Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable. Viking (forthcoming February 2023).
    • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; With Selected Statutes and Cases (with Stephen Yeazell). Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Law & Business (2019).
    • Civil Procedure (with Stephen Yeazell). 10th ed. Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Law & Business (2018).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Backdoor Municipal Immunity, 132 Yale L.J. Forum 136. Full Text
    • Lexipol’s Fight Against Police Reform (with Ingrid Eagly), 97 Indiana Law Journal 1 (2022). Full Text
    • New Federalism And Civil Rights Enforcement (with Alexander Reinert and James E. Pfander), 116 Northwestern University Law Review 737 (2021). Full Text
    • Going Rogue: The Supreme Court's Newfound Hostility to Policy-Based Bivens Claims (with Alexander Reinert and James E. Pfander), 96 Notre Dame Law Review 1835 (2021). Full Text
    • Qualified Immunity's Boldest Lie, 88 University of Chicago Law Review 605 (2021). Full Text
    • Qualified Immunity and Federalism All the Way Down, 109 Georgetown Law Journal 305 (2020). Full Text
    • Civil Rights Ecosystems, 114 Michigan Law Review 1539 (2020). Full Text
    • The Myth of Personal Liability: Who Pays When Bivens Claims Succeed (with James E. Pfander and Alex Reinert), 72 Stanford Law Review 561 (2020). Full Text
    • Qualified Immunity's Selection Effects, 114 Northwestern University Law Review 1101 (2020). Full Text
    • After Qualified Immunity, 120 Columbia Law Review 309 (2020). Full Text
    • Systems Failures in Policing, 51 Suffolk University Law Review 535 (2018). Full Text
    • The Case Against Qualified Immunity, 93 Notre Dame Law Review 1797 (2018). Full Text
    • Lexipol: The Privatization of Police Policymaking (with Ingrid V. Eagly), 96 Texas Law Review 891 (2018). Full Text
    • How Qualified Immunity Fails, 127 Yale Law Journal 2 (2017). Full Text
    • The Cost of Suing Business, 65 DePaul Law Review 655 (2016). (Clifford Symposium) Full Text
    • Who Can Police the Police?, 2016 Univ. of Chicago Legal Forum 437 (2016). Full Text
    • How Governments Pay: Lawsuits, Budgets, and Police Reform, 63 UCLA Law Review 1144 (2016). Full text
    • Introspection through Litigation, 90 Notre Dame Law Review 1055 (2015). Full Text
    • Police Indemnification, 89 New York University Law Review 885 (2014). Full Text
    • A Dose of Reality for Medical Malpractice Reform, 88 New York University Law Review 1224 (2013). Full Text
    • Gateways and Pathways in Civil Procedure, 60 UCLA Law Review 1652 (2013). Full Text
    • What Police Learn from Lawsuits, 33 Cardozo Law Review 841 (2012). Full Text
    • Myths and Mechanics of Deterrence: The Role of Lawsuits in Law Enforcement Decisionmaking, 57 UCLA Law Review 1023 (2010). Full Text
  • Other
    • The Supreme Court Is Giving Lower Courts a Subtle Hint to Rein In Police Misconduct, The Atlantic (Mar. 4, 2021).
    • Don’t Let Tucker Carlson Scare You: Reform Won’t Hurt Good Cops (with Patrick Jaicomo & Anya Bidwell), Orange County Register (July 8, 2020).
    • The Unnecessary Protection of Qualified Immunity (with Seth Stoughton), Justia Verdict (June 26, 2020).
    • Hold Prosecutors Accountable, Too  (with Kate Levine), Boston Review (June 22, 2020).
    • Who Should Pay for Police Misconduct?, Law and Political Economy Blog (June 11, 2020).
    • The Simple Way Congress Can Stop Federal Officers from Abusing Prisoners (with James Pfander and Alex Reinert), Politico (June 10, 2020).
    • Suing the Police for Abuse is Nearly Impossible. The Supreme Court Can Fix That, The Washington Post (June 3, 2020).
    • Imagining A World Without Qualified Immunity, Parts I-V , Volokh Conspiracy (September 2019).
    • The Case Against Qualified Immunity, Parts I-V, Volokh Conspiracy (June 2018).
    • Blind Justice, Lady Liberty, and the War on Terror, Balkinization Blog (May 18, 2017). (For the symposium on James Pfander, Constitutional Torts and the War on Terror.)
    • Police Unfazed by Legal Liability, Daily Journal (March 24, 2015). Guest Column.
    • The Cost of Suing Business, The CLS Blue Sky Blog (May 12, 2015).
    • Learning From Litigation, New York Times (May 16, 2013). Op-Ed.
    • Watching the Detectives, New York Times (June 15, 2011). Op-Ed.