Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

Jenny Rivera

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Professor of Law, City University of New York School of Law and Founder and Director, Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality

Professor Jenny Rivera is an academic leader, scholar, and social justice advocate.  Throughout her career, she has been committed to improving access to justice and access to the legal profession for Latina and Latino students.  A professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law, she is the founder and director of the Law School’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE). CLORE promotes scholarship, public education, and advocacy on issues that impact the Latino Community in the United States.  CLORE’s unique program includes the CLORE High School Law Academy, which helps to build a pipeline to the legal profession for students from underrepresented communities.

Issues of gender, equality, and violence against women have been the focus of much of her scholarship. She has published articles on domestic violence and civil rights, including, “Domestic Violence Against Latinas by Latino Males: An Analysis of Race, National Origin, and Gender Differentials,” 14 B.C. Third World L.J. 231 (1994); “The Continuum of Violence Against Latinas and Latinos,” 12 N.Y.C.L. Rev. 399 (2009), and “An Equal Protection Standard for National Origin Subclassifications: The Context that Matters,” 82 Wash. L. Rev. 897 (2007). She is the coauthor of a report on Latinas in the public interest sector, “La Voz de la Abogada Latina:  Challenges and Rewards in Serving the Public Interest,” Hispanic Nat’l Bar Ass’n (2010).

Professor Rivera is an active member of various professional organizations and committees, including the American Bar Association’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, where she serves as a Member and the Commission’s Reporter. She is a member of the American Law Institute, New York State’s Second Department Judicial Screening Committee, the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession, and the Board of Directors of the Grand Street Settlement.

Professor Rivera is a former Administrative Law Judge of the New York State Division of Human Rights,  a former member of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and was the Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights for New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.

Prior to teaching, Professor Rivera clerked in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals Pro Se Law Clerk’s Office and worked for the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Family Rights Project.  She also worked as an Associate Counsel for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (renamed LatinoJustice/PRLDEF), where she helped develop and implement the organization’s women’s rights litigation and advocacy programs.

In 1993, Professor Rivera clerked for then District Judge Sonia Sotomayor.  After Justice Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Professor Rivera  served as editor and lead author of a review of Justice Sotomayor’s judicial record, conducted by several law professors for the Hispanic National Bar Association.  The report was included with the HNBA’s testimony in support of the Justice’s appointment to the Court.

Professor Rivera’s work in support of increased diversity and equality under the law has been recognized by the New York State Bar Association, which awarded her its  Diversity Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and the HNBA, which awarded her a Presidential Advocacy Award in 2009.

Professor Rivera graduated from Princeton University, and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor for the Annual Survey of American Law, a Root Tilden Scholar, and co-chair of the Latino Law Students Association.  She received her LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law, where she focused on feminist jurisprudence.