Professor Rachel López’s scholarship primarily focuses on methods of accountability for human rights violations and reforms to transitional justice mechanisms.
Prior to joining the law school, Professor López was a clinical teaching fellow and then a visiting assistant clinical professor at Seton Hall University School of Law where she supervised law students on a wide range of cases, including immigration, human rights, death penalty, prisoners’ rights, family law, and civil rights cases, in both domestic and international forums. Notably, she has represented victims of state-sanctioned massacres in Grand Ravine, Haiti and co-authored a human rights report on medical repatriation, the extrajudicial deportation of sick and critically injured immigrants by U.S. hospitals.
She also served as a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and worked on a class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional stop and frisk practices, litigation challenging the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of people within the United States, a petition for a thematic hearing on the human rights consequences of the Iraq War before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Freedom of Information Act litigation concerning the attack of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010, and briefing in an Alien Tort Statute case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda.
Professor López clerked for the Honorable Justice Petra Jimenez Maes in the New Mexico Supreme Court. From 2008-2009, she worked at the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York, and its partner, Citizen Governance Initiatives in Cameroon, through the support of fellowships from the University of Texas, School of Law and the American Society of International Law. Her focus was on the advancement of rule of law in West Africa, in particular as it relates to anti-corruption and freedom of information, and developing litigation strategies for holding transnational corporations accountable in U.S. courts for their corrupt practices and human rights abuses. Professor López received her B.A. in Sociology, Political Science, and International Studies from Northwestern University and her J.D. from the University of Texas, School of Law. She also has an LL.M. in French and European Law from Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is fluent in Spanish and French.