Penelope Andrews

John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law; Director, Racial Justice Project

Penelope Andrews

John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law
Director, Racial Justice Project

Penelope Andrews

Contact Information
T 212.431.2351 

Faculty Assistant
Elizabeth Planas
T 212.431.4298

University of KwaZulu-Natal, LL.B., B.A.; Columbia Law School, LL.M.


Penelope Andrews joined New York Law School in January 2019 and teaches constitutional law, torts, professional responsibility, and race and the law. She is also Director of NYLS’s Racial Justice Project.

Professor Andrews began her teaching career at Australia’s La Trobe University, where she taught for eight years, before moving to the City University of New York School of Law, where she taught public international law, gender and law, race and law, comparative law, and torts for 15 years. She has held visiting appointments at law schools across the U.S. and internationally and senior leadership posts, including serving as the first Black Dean at the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law (2016–2018) and the first female Dean and President of Albany Law School (2012–2015).

Professor Andrews is active in international collaborative research and mentoring networks and committed to ensuring the relevance of law and society scholarship to global academic communities. She is an editor of the International Journal of Law in Context, the Human Rights and the Global Economy E-Journal, and the African Law E-Journal.

She’s authored books and articles focusing on comparative constitutional law, gender and racial equality, human rights, the judiciary, and legal education. She is working on a manuscript, Law, Politics and the #MeToo Movement (forthcoming 2023).

Professor Andrews’ focus on the judiciary in South Africa seeks to bridge the divide between theory and practice. Her writing explores the transformation of the judiciary, particularly the appointment of female judges. She was a trainer with Judicial Institute for Africa, specializing in judicial opinion writing and communications skills. She also served as an Acting Judge of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the 2018 third term and as an arbitrator in racial discrimination hearings in South Africa.

She has served on law school committees and the boards of public interest and human rights organizations, including the Africa Section of Human Rights Watch and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. She recently served a two-year term as the President of the Law and Society Association. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Board of the Institute for African Women in Law and is a member of the National University of Ireland Galway’s External Advisory Group on Gender Equality and the Advisory Committee of the South African Research Chair in Teaching and Learning at the University of Johannesburg.

Professor Andrews has received many awards, including an honorary degree from Franklin University in Switzerland in recognition of her work and commitment to social justice and human rights. She continues to host the South Africa Reading Group, which she co-founded with the late Professor Stephen Ellmann in 1994.

Professor Andrews is a regular commentator in the media on South African legal issues and racial justice matters.


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