Lia Epperson, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at American University Washington College of Law, is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, constitutional law, and education policy. Her scholarship centers on the constitutional dialogue between federal courts and the political branches, and its implications for educational equity. Her scholarship, published in leading journals, also explores the role of public schools, colleges, and universities in creating equal opportunity. Prior to her appointment at American University, she served on the law faculties of the University of Maryland and Santa Clara University. She has also served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on federal civil rights enforcement of educational policies and practices. Dean Epperson’s research interests are informed by her experiences litigating education cases throughout the country, and lobbying for the maintenance and enforcement of civil rights protections.
Prior to becoming a law professor in 2005, Dean Epperson directed the education law and policy group of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF). While there, she litigated in federal and state courts, advocated for federal administrative and legislative reforms, and co-authored multiple amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court in the areas of education and affirmative action. In addition, she represented LDF in several national civil rights leadership coalitions, including serving as chair of the Education Task Force for the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, a coalition of nearly 200 national organizations.
Prior to her time at LDF, Dean Epperson was an attorney with Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto, CA, and a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her law degree from Stanford University, where she served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review as well as the Stanford Law and Policy Review. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.