Joanna Schwartz is Vice Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She teaches Civil Procedure, the Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, and a variety of courses on police accountability and public interest lawyering. In 2015, she received UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Professor Schwartz is one of the country’s leading experts on police misconduct litigation. Her studies examine the frequency with which police departments gather and analyze information from lawsuits, and the ways in which litigation-attentive departments use lawsuit data to reduce the likelihood of future harms. She has also examined the financial effects of police misconduct litigation, including the frequency with which police officers contribute to settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases, and the extent to which police department budgets are affected by litigation costs. Professor Schwartz has also looked more broadly at how lawsuits influence decision-making in hospitals, airlines, and other organizational settings.
Professor Schwartz additionally studies the dynamics of modern civil litigation. Recent scholarship examines the degree to which litigation costs and delays necessitate current civil procedure rules, and compares rhetoric with available evidence about the costs and burdens of class action litigation. She is co-author, with Stephen Yeazell, of a leading casebook, Civil Procedure (9th Edition).
Professor Schwartz is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. She was awarded the Francis Wayland Prize for her work in Yale Law School’s Prison Legal Services clinic. 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. She was awarded the New York City Legal Aid Society's Pro Bono Publico Award for her work as co-counsel representing a class of inmates challenging conditions at Rikers Island. Immediately prior to her appointment, Professor Schwartz was the Binder Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law.