James Forman Jr.

Professor of Law

(on leave, spring 2017)


James Forman Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High School, Brown University, and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He teaches Constitutional Law, a seminar on Race and the Criminal Justice System, and a clinic called the Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic.

FULL BIOGRAPHY

Education & Curriculum Vitae


J.D., Yale Law School, 1992

A.B., Brown University, 1988

Courses Taught


  • Constitutional Law
  • Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline
  • Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic
  • Innovations in Policing
  • Race and the Law: African-Americans and Criminal Justice
  • Inside Out—Issues in Criminal Justice (joint seminar for YLS and Manson Youth Institute, a Connecticut State Prison)

James Forman Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High School, Brown University, and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court.

After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Professor Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. So in 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for school dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. A decade later, in 2007, Maya Angelou School expanded and agreed to run the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison. That school, which had long been an abysmal failure, has been transformed under the leadership of the Maya Angelou staff; the court monitor overseeing D.C.’s juvenile system called the turnaround “extraordinary.”

Professor Forman taught at Georgetown Law from 2003 to 2011, when he joined the Yale faculty. At Yale, he teaches Constitutional Law, a seminar on Race and the Criminal Justice System, and a clinic called the Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic. In the clinic, Professor Forman and his students represent young people facing expulsion from school for discipline violations, and they work to keep their clients in school and on track towards graduation.

Professor Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions. Professor Forman’s book, titled Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, will be published in the spring of 2017 by Farrar Straus and Giroux.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


What we get wrong about mass imprisonment in America

Professor of Law James Forman, Jr. ’92 is quoted in a blog article about mass incarceration.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


We Are Not Beasts

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman, Jr. ’92 wrote a book review of Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


U.S. prison brutality will not end with Guantanamo

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman, Jr. ’92 is quoted in an article about violence perpetrated against inmates of American prisons.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


VIDEO: Confederate Flag Debate

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman Jr. ’92 was a guest on CNN where he discussed the history of the Confederate Flag.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


From the Archives: Driving Dixie Down: Removing the Confederate Flag from Southern State Capitols

In 1991, James Forman, Jr., then a YLJ editor, published a Note entitled Driving Dixie Down: Removing the Confederate Flag from Southern State Capitols.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


South Carolina lawmakers to consider taking down Confederate flag

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman, Jr. ’92 is quoted in an article about the Confederate flag.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Lecture honors King’s message of hope, unity

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman Jr. ’92 gave a speech at Vanderbilt University to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 19, 2015


The Other America, lecture at Vanderbilt

James Forman Jr. delivered the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture, titled "The Other America," at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Monday, Jan. 19.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


VIDEO: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline

Clinical Professor of Law James Forman, Jr. ’92 is a speaker on a panel titled "Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline," which took place at the Albert Shanker Institute on January 8, 2014.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Anne Alstott ’87, James Forman Jr. ’92, and David Singh Grewal ’02 Appointed to Law School Faculty

Anne Alstott ’87, James Forman Jr. ’92, and David Singh Grewal ’02 will join the Yale Law School faculty on July 1, 2011.