Deborah N. Archer

Professor of Law
Co-Director, Impact Center for Public Interest Law
Director, Racial Justice Project

Deborah N. Archer

An expert in the areas of civil rights and racial discrimination, Deborah N. Archer is a Professor of Law and Co-director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law. Dean Archer was previously an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated at the trial and appellate level in cases involving affirmative action in higher education, employment discrimination, school desegregation, and voting rights. She was also a Marvin H. Karpatkin Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she was involved in federal and state litigation on issues of race and poverty. Prior to joining New York Law School, Dean Archer was an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

As Co-director of the Impact Center, Dean Archer works with students and faculty to leverage the power of law and legal education to advance social justice, enrich the professional development of NYLS students, and have a positive impact on public interest law. And, as Director of the Racial Justice Project, she continues to work to protect the constitutional and civil rights of people of color and increase public awareness of racism, racial injustice, and structural racial inequality. Dean Archer has also participated as amicus counsel in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeal, including Ricci v. DeStefano, Fisher v. University of Texas, Shelby County v. Holder, and Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project.

Dean Archer graduated with honors from Smith College in 1993 and was awarded her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996. She clerked for Judge Alvin Thompson in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Dean Archer is a member of the National Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She was selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar and has also served on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Civil Rights Committee and on the Committee on Civil Rights of the New York State Bar Association. Dean Archer also previously served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at New York Law School.

In 2016, Dean Archer was named one of the “Top Women in Law” by the New York Law Journal.


“African American Political Participation,” in African – American History Reference Series, vol. 2 at 1830-1895 (Oxford University Press, 2005).


“Collective or Individual Benefits?:  Measuring the Educational Benefits of Race-Conscious Admissions Programs,” 57 Howard Law Journal, forthcoming.

“There is No Santa Claus:  The Challenge of Teaching The Next Generation of Civil Rights Lawyers in a ‘Post-Racial’ Society,” Columbia Journal of Race and Law, forthcoming.

Special Education Law and Practice (with Richard Marsico) forthcoming.

“Introduction:  Challenging the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” 54 N.Y. Law Schl. L. Rev. 867 (2009).

“Failing Students or Failing Schools?:  Holding States Accountable for the High School Dropout Crisis,” 12 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1253 (2008).

“Moving Beyond Strict Scrutiny:  The Need for a More Nuanced Standard of Equal Protection Analysis for K Through 12 Integration Programs,” 9 U. PA. J. Const. L. 1 (2007).

“Moving Beyond Strict Scrutiny:  The Need for a More Nuanced Standard of Equal Protection Analysis for K Through 12 Integration Programs,” 9 U. PA. J. Const. L. 1 (2007).

“Political Participation:  African American Political Participation from the Antebellum Period through Reconstruction” in Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895:  From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass (The African-American History Reference Series), edited by Paul Finkelman (with Paul Finkelman).

“Making America ‘The Land of Second Chances’: Restoring Socioeconomic Rights for Ex-Offenders” (Partners in Justice: A Colloquium on Developing Collaborations Among Courts, Law School Clinical Programs and the Practicing Bar), 30 New York University Review of Law & Social Change 527-584 (2006) (with K.S. Williams).

“Moving Beyond Strict Scrutiny: The Need for a More Nuanced Standard of Protection Analysis for K through 12 Integration Programs,” 9 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 629-665(2007) originally published as New York Law School Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No 06/07-8. (2006).


Is Post-Racialism an Implicit Bias, The Huffington Post, March 16, 2015

Separate and Unequal: The Supreme Court, Affirmative Action and Ballot Initiatives, The Huffington Post, June 26, 2013

Diversity Lives to See Another Day, The Huffington Post, June 26, 2013

Strong Medicine: The Continuing Struggle for the Protection of Voting Rights, The Huffington Post, February 26, 2013

Why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Still Matters, American Constitution Society Blog, February 2013

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations:  Why Affirmative Action Still Matters, The Huffington Post, October 8, 2012

Why We Need Race Conscious Admissions, The National Jurist, October 10, 2012