Rachel López is an Associate Professor of Law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University. She is currently a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. Previously, Professor López researched transitional justice in Guatemala as a Fulbright Scholar and as a Fellow at the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. From 2015 to 2019, she served a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, as an appointee of Governor Tom Wolf.
Her scholarship primarily focuses on state responsibility for mass abuse, transitional justice, and the carceral state. Her articles have appeared in well-regarded law journals, such as the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. Her most recent article, The Law of Gravity, was selected for the “New Voices in Human Rights and International Law” session at the 2020 Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting. Her work has also been featured in The Hill, Americas Quarterly, Opinio Juris, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Open Global Rights, and local affiliates of National Public Radio (NPR) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
She is a co-founder of the Collaborative Research Network (CRN) on Transitional Justice at the Law and Society Association and serves on the Executive Committees of the AALS Sections on Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Elder Law. She is also currently on the 2021 Annual Meeting Committee of the American Society for International Law (ASIL). Most recently, she was appointed to serve on the Board and the Legal Advisory Committee of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
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. She also served as a Cooperating Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and clerked for the Honorable Justice Petra Jimenez Maes at the New Mexico Supreme Court. She previously worked at the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Through the support of the Arthur C. Helton Fellowship from ASIL, she also worked at the Citizen Governance Initiatives in Cameroon.
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.