Beth Colgan is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Her primary research and teaching interests are in criminal law and procedure and juvenile justice. Prior to joining the Law School, she was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.
Professor Colgan is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional and policy issues related to the use of economic sanctions as punishment and particularly on the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause. In addition to her interest in the intersection between criminal legal systems and poverty, Professor Colgan’s research also investigates the treatment of juveniles in juvenile and adult criminal contexts and indigent defense. Her recent scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the California Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Iowa Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal Forum, among others. Professor Colgan received the UCLA Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019) and the 2019 graduating class selected her as Professor of the Year.
Professor Colgan earned her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. After law school, she worked as an associate for Perkins Coie LLP (2000-05), litigating a variety of matters in federal and state court and engaging in extensive pro bono work focusing primarily on access to competent indigent defense counsel and post-conviction representation of juveniles tried in adult criminal courts. From 2006-11, Professor Colgan worked as the Managing Attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services, representing juveniles and adults confined in prisons, jails, and mental health facilities in civil rights litigation, collateral appeals, and legislative advocacy. Professor Colgan has been recognized for her work including as the recipient of the Washington State Bar Association Thomas Neville Pro Bono Award, the Northwestern University Children & Family Justice Center Alumni Award, and the Stanford Law School Pro Bono Distinction Award. She continues to serve as a consultant on issues related to punishment, juvenile justice, and access to counsel.