Samantha Pownall ’11
Assistant Professor of Law
Director, Education Law and Policy Institute
New York Law School, J.D. 2011; Oberlin College, B.A. 2004
Samantha C. Pownall ’11 directs the Education Law and Policy Institute and teaches clinical legal and experiential learning courses at New York Law School, including the Education Law Clinic, Children and the Law in Practice, and Legal Practice. Her scholarship and instruction focus on administrative hearings, advocacy campaigns, special education law, school liability, holistic client representation, juvenile justice, civil rights and constitutional issues in education law.
She began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), where she led a project that provided legal representation to low-income students who had been arrested or suspended from school, and published a report on stop-and-frisk and the school-to-prison pipeline in New York City. At the NYCLU, she also coordinated First Amendment protest monitoring, and advocated for reproductive freedom, sex education, marriage equality, and immigration reforms. She clerked for the Honorable Sterling Johnson Jr. in the Eastern District of New York and litigated special education cases as Of Counsel to the Cuddy Law Firm.
Professor Pownall developed a passion for social justice lawyering and youth justice while a law student in New York Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic and Wilf Impact Center for Public Interest Law, and during her 1L summer at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights in New Orleans. Before becoming a lawyer, she taught high school Spanish at Franklinton High School in Franklinton, North Carolina through Teach for America. She also taught college access and leadership development classes for young people aged 12–21 at The Door and the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy in New York City.