Susan Carle

Professor of Law

Office: Room 408
Phone: 202-274-4188
E-mail: vCard


Professor Susan D. Carle teaches and writes about civil rights legal history, employment discrimination, labor and employment law, legal ethics, and the history and sociology of the legal profession. She is the author of Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. In 2014 she received the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Award for "the author of the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present.” She has published numerous articles examining lawyers’ conceptions of their professional obligations to further the public interest in journals including the Cornell Law Review, Fordham Law Journal, Florida Law Review, Harvard Journal of Gender and the Law, American University Law Review, and Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. She is also editor of Lawyers’ Ethics and the Pursuit of Social Justice (NYU Press Critical America Series 2005), which collects work in the emerging field of critical legal ethics scholarship. In 2001, her paper entitled “Race, Class and Legal Ethics in the Early NAACP” received the Association of American Law Schools’ Best Scholarly Paper Award, and in 2006 she received the Jean and Edgar Kahn National Equal Justice Library Award for distinguished scholarship on the subject of access to justice. She has served as this law school’s first Associate Dean for Scholarship and as chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Professional Responsibility and its Professional Development Committee, and is a member of the legal ethics advisory committee of the National Disability Rights Network.

Professor Carle attended Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of The Yale Law Journal. After graduation she clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and then worked as an appellate attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and at the leading union-side labor and employment law firm of Bredhoff & Kaiser. She was W.M. Keck Fellow in Legal Ethics at Georgetown University Law Center from 1995-97, and in 2006 served as Visiting Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School.



Areas of Specialization

  • Labor Relations and Employment Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment Discrimination Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., Yale Law School 1988
  • A.B., Bryn Mawr College 1982 (magna cum laude)

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

  • + Selected Works in Progress

    • Susan Carle, Some Thoughts on Ethical Participation in the Legal Education Industry, __ Akron L. Rev. __ (forthcomgin 2014).
    • Susan Carle, Conceptions of Agency in Social Movement Scholarship: Mack on Civil Rights Lawyers, __ L. & Soc. Inquiry __ (forthcoming 2014).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Susan Carle, Paper Presentation, Looking at the Law/Non-Law Divide through the Lenses of Gender and Race in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century U.S. Women’s Reform Activism (“Crossing Professional Borders” Panel, Organization of American Historians Annual Conference, Atlanta, Ga., Apr. 2014).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1881-1915 (Maryland NOW and Women’s Heritage Center, Balt., Md., Mar. 2014).
    • Susan Carle, Keynote Speaker, Defining the Struggle: Past, Present, and Future (Texas Book Fair, Austin NAACP, Austin Urban League, and KAZi Radio, Austin, Tex., Feb. 2014).
    • Susan Carle, Book Talk, Defining the Struggle (Busboys & Poets Bookstore, D.C., Jan. 2014).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Current Issues in Legal Ethics (NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Airlie House Annual Civil Rights Training Institute, Warrenton, Va., Oct. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Law in Turn-of-the-Century Racial Justice Organizing Strategies (Jim Crow and the Law: Assessing Disfranchisement, Association for the Study of African American History and Life (ASAHL), Annual Convention, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, ASAHL Authors’ Book Signing (Association for the Study of African American History and Life (ASAHL), Annual Convention, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Angry Employees (Labor Concepts in Antidiscrimination Law, Eighth Annual Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law, University of Nevada William S. Boyd School of Law, Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Consultant & Presenter, Employment Law Issues Raised by Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Regional Training Session and Webinar, National Resource Center on Eliminating Prison Rape, D.C., May & July, 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Moderator & Presenter, Conceptions of Agency in Legal Civil Rights History Scholarship (Legal Ethics Schmooze, Fordham Law School, N.Y.C., N.Y., June 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Invited Talk, Thoughts on Ethical Participation in the Legal Education Industry (Miller Becker Ethics Symposium, Akron Law School, Akron, Ohio, Apr. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Inventing Civil Rights Lawyering, 1880-1915 (Faculty Workshop Series, Georgetown University Law Center, D.C., Mar. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Moderator, Unpaid Internships: Litigation, Law, and Advocacy (WCL Labor Law Forum Symposium, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Mar. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Debate, Debated Dr. Robert Pilon of the Cato Institute on the Constitutionality of Affirmative Action in Education, Focusing on Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Case, Fisher v. University of Texas (Federalist Society/WCL Democrats Club Debate, D.C., Mar. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Forerunners of the NAACP: Inventing Civil Rights Lawyering, 1880-1915 (Center for the Study of Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Black Law Students Association, for Black History Month, Georgetown University Law Center. D.C., Feb. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Defining the Struggle: National Racial Justice Organizing, 1880-1915 (WCL Distinguished Speakers Series, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Jan. 2013).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Forerunners of the NAACP: Inventing Civil Rights Lawyering, 1880-1915 (UCLA Law School Faculty Colloquium, L.A., Cal., Nov. 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Forerunners of the NAACP (Inaugural Workshop of Mid Atlantic Law and Society Association, Drexel Law School, Phila., Pa., Oct. 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Workshop Speaker, Inventing Civil Rights Lawyering: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915 (Interdisciplinary Gathering of Law Professors, Historians, and Political Scientists, Baldy Center, Univ. of Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, The Early History of American National Organization Building on Racial Justice Issues, 1880-1915 (International Association of Legal Ethics Conference, Banff, Alberta, Can., July 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Strategies for Integrating Social Justice Issues in an Ethics and Professionalism Course (National Institute for Teaching Legal Ethics and Professionalism Conference, Banff, Alberta, Can., July 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and Niagara Movement Compared (Lawyers and Social Change in 20th Century America Panel, Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Honolulu, Haw., June 4 - 8, 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Welcome to AALS Conference on the Future of the Legal Profession; Implications for Legal Education (2012 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, D.C., Jan. 2012).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Late Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Organizations and their Role in the Founding of the NAACP and National Urban League (Panel on “Civil Rights Era and its Legacy," 2011 American Society for Legal History Conference, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Why Justice Scalia’s ‘Evil Day’ of Constitutional Reckoning on Disparate Impact Analysis Need Not Occur (Equal Protection Panel at Conference on “The Constitutionalization of Labor and Employment Law?," Madison, Wis., Oct. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, National Organization Building for Racial Justice: The Legal Agenda of the National Afro American Council, 1898-1908 (University of California at Irvine, Irvine, Cal., Sept. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, Clara Foltz and the Invention of the Office of the Public Defender (Faculty Speakers Workshop, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Sept. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Speech, Welcoming Remarks (ClassCrits IV Conference, D.C., Sept. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Forerunners of the NAACP: The Story of the Race Justice Activists whose Work Launched the Twentieth Century Civil Rights Revolution, 1880-1910 (National Science Foundation Conference “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Law and American Political Development," Ohio, May 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, A Comparative Study of Differences in Rights-Based Discourse Strategies among Civil Rights and Women’s Reform Networks, 1890-1910 (Feminism and Legal Theory Workshop, “Beyond Rights: Vulnerability and Justice,” Smith College, Northampton, Mass., May 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Moderator, Regulation and Reality (“The 24/7 Workplace,” Innaugural Event for AU Labor Law Forum, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Apr. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Moderator, Structural Racism (Symposium Entitled "The New Racism," American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Mar. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Plenary Presentation, How Myth-Busting about the Historical Goals of Civil Rights Activism Can Illuminate Paths for the Future (Beyond Bias, Beyond Courts: New Strategies for Racial Justice, Stanford Law School, Palo Alto, Cal., Feb. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Moderator, Lawyers’ Special Responsibilities as Public Citizens in a Rapidly Changing World (American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, S.F., Cal., Jan. 2011).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, The National Urban League’s Role in Developing Employment Anti-Discrimination Law (“The History of Black Economic Empowerment,” American Society for the Study of African American Life and History 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh, N.C., Sept. 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, What We Can Learn from a Social Movement History of Disparate Impact Law (Fifth Annual Labor and Employment Law Colloquium, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Legal Ethics and Structural Change: A Case Study (International Legal Ethics Conference, IV, Stanford Law School, Palo Alto, Cal., July 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Chair, Where Do We Go from Here? (International Congress of Comparative Law, XVIII, Private Law Theory Workshop, D.C., July 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, An Analysis of Recent U.S. Developments in Disparate Impact or Effects-Based Employment Antidiscrimination Law (International Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Milan, Italy, June 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, Commented on Robert Dinerstein's "Engaged Client Centered Counseling about Client Choices" (Distinguished Speakers Series, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, An Overview of the Legislative History of Title VII (Employment Discrimination B 45 Years of Enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Moderator, Family Responsibility Discrimination (Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law Symposium entitled AFraming Problems and Finding Solutions B A Look at the Effects of the Recession on Social Welfare," American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 2010).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, A Social Movement History of Title VII Disparate Impact Analysis (Washington University Law School Faculty Workshop, St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Paper Presentation, John Dewey and the Early NAACP: Developing a Progressive Discourse on Racial Injustice, 1909-1921 (Center for Inquiry Conference Entitled "John Dewey's 150th Birthday Celebration: An International Conference on Dewey's Impact," Amherst, N.Y., Oct. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, The Role of Lawyers (and Other Activists) of Color in Tackling Racial Employment Subordination as a Structural Issue (The Role of Lawyers of Color: Past, Present & Future, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Fort Worth, Tex., Oct. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Presentation, A Social Movements History of Title VII Disparate Impact Analysis (Reconnecting Political and Civil Rights with Economic Justice, Lat Crit XIV Conference, Bethesda, Md., Oct. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, Comment on Mary Romero, Work in Progress, AReproducing Whiteness as Citizenship Criteria through Immigration Raids and Law Enforcement@ (Reconnecting Political and Civil Rights with Economic Justice, Lat Crit XIV Conference, Bethesda, Md., Oct. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, A Unified Social Justice Agenda: Political, Economic and Social Rights in the Thought and Activism of Reverdy C. Ransom, 1896-1904 (Faculty Legal Theory Workshop, University of Miami School of Law, Miami, Fla., Apr. 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, A Unified Social Justice Agenda: Political, Economic and Social Rights in the Thought and Activism of Reverdy C. Ransom in Chicago, 1896-1904 (Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash., Mar. 25, 2009).
    • Susan Carle, Workshop Participant & Panelist, Structure and Integrity (Cornell Law Review Colloquium, “Legal Ethics and Human Dignity,” Cornell Law School, Ithaca, N.Y., Oct. 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, The Status of the ‘Color Line’ in the 21st Century (Commentator on Adolph Reed, Jr., Faculty Speakers Series, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Sept. 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Debunking the Myth of Civil Rights Liberalism: Visions of Racial Justice in the Thought of T. Thomas Fortune, 1880-1890 (Colloquium on “The Lawyer’s Role in Contemporary Democracy," Fordham Law School, N.Y.C., N.Y., Sept. 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Rethinking Lawyers’ Roles in New Governance Paradigms (Legal Ethics “Shmooze,” co-sponsored by Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Georgetown Law School and Fordham Law School, N.Y.C., N.Y., June 3, 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Structure and Integrity (Georgetown University Law Center Panel on the Work of Legal Ethicist David Luban’s, Wash., D.C., Mar. 24, 2008).
    • Susan Carle & Macarena Saez, Presentation, Comparative Analysis of the Historical Development of the Law of the Chair in Chile and the U.S. (Universidad de Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, Mar. 14, 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Under Cover of Science: American Legal-Economic Theory and the Quest for Objectivity (Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, N.Y.C. N.Y., Jan. 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Panel Moderator, Secularism and the Islamic Identity (Conference on “Turkey: At the Crossroads of Secular West and Traditional East,” American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Jan. 2008).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Legal Ethics and the NAACP: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Considerations (NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Annual Civil Rights Training Institute, Airlie House, Warrenton, Va., Nov. 15, 2007).
    • Susan Carle, Invited Participant, ClassCrits: Toward a Critical Legal Analysis of Economic Inequality (Buffalo Law School and Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 2007).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Legal Ethics Issues Related to Multi-disciplinary Practice in Representation and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (National Disabilities Rights Network Annual Conference of State Chief Executive Officers, Phoenix, Nev., Oct. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Progressive Lawyering in Politically Depressing Times: Thoughts on Susan Sturm's Democratic Experimentalist Approach to Anti-discrimination Advocacy (Harvard Women’s Law Journal Symposium, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Commentary, Commentator on Richard T. Ford Presentation, "Playing the Race Card" (External Speakers Series, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Forerunners of the NAACP (D.C. Area Legal History Roundtable, George Washington University, Wash., D.C., Sept. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Panelist, Promoting Scholarship within a Faculty (Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Palm Beach, Fla., July 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Plenary Speaker, Legal Ethics Issues in Union Representation (National Association of Lawyers for Education Associations, Annual Meeting, Wash., D.C., May 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Why Power, Not Justice, Should Guide Lawyers= Exercise of Ethical Discretion (Faculty Workshop Speakers Series, Northeastern School of Law, Bos., Mass., May 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Paper Presentation, Why Power, Not Justice, Should Guide Lawyers' Ethical Analysis (Mid-Atlantic Clinical Theory Workshop, Howard Law School, Wash., D.C., Apr. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Session Speaker, Socio-economics and the History of Legal Thought (Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Wash., D.C., Jan. 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, "Ethics Issues for Protection and Advocacy Systems’ Management As a Whole" and "When Does the Attorney/Client Relationship Begin?" (Training & Advocacy Support Center, National Disability Rights Network, Annual Skills Building Conference, San Diego, Cal., Jan. 1, 2006).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Why Power, Not Justice, Should Guide Lawyers’ Ethical Analysis (Speakers Series, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Moderator, Pedagogy: The Challenges of Teaching (Legal Ethics in a New Millennium: New Practice, New Rules, New Visions, Association of American Law Schools Mid-Year Meeting, Montreal, Can., June 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Ethics Issues in Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities: Who is the Client? (National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems Annual Conference, Alexandria, Va., June 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Speaker, 'The Influence of Classical Pragmatism on the Early Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois and the Origins of the NAACP’s Desegregation Strategy;" "Examining Informal Structures of Power in Sexual Harassment Law;” “Regulating the Employment Relationship in Contemporary Society;” “Governance of the Workplace in Contemporary Society” (Law and Society Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nev., June 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Poster Presentation, How Do Legal Ethics Rules Change?: A Case Study from the Early History of the NAACP (American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility, Chicago, Ill., May 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Poster Presentation, How Do Legal Ethics Rules Change?: A Case Study from the Early History of the NAACP (Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, S.F., Cal., Jan. 2005).
    • Susan Carle, Panelist, Roundtable: Ethical Problems and Legal Rules Surrounding the Use of Lawyers= Papers as Historical Sources (American Society for Legal History Annual Meeting, Austin, Tex., Nov. 2004).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Implementing Pedagogical Objectives Through Course Management Tools (Workshop on Technology and Pedagogy Concurrent Session, Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 2004).
    • Susan Carle, Participant, Mind, Language and Law (Invitation-only Conference Led by Philosophers from Rutgers Philosophy Department, Rutgers Law School, Camden, N.J., May 2003).
    • Susan Carle, Panelist, Defining the Practice of Law: Is It Necessary? - Is It Possible? (American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility 29th National Conference, Chicago, Ill., May 2003).
    • Susan Carle, Moderator, Secret Settlements: Should the Ground Rules Be Changed? (D.C. Bar Association Annual Meeting, Wash., D.C., Mar. 2003).
    • Susan Carle, Paper Presentation, How Should We Theorize Class Interests in Thinking About Professional Regulation? (Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy Symposium, Ithaca, N.Y., Nov. 2002).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Reviving the Pragmatists' Theory of the Self (American University Washington College of Law Faculty Workshop, Wash., D.C., Oct. 2002).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, John Dewey and the Legal Realists (Panel on Reconsidering the Classics of the Sociology of Law, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chi., Ill., Aug. 2002).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation & Moderator, "Reviving the Pragmatists' View of the Self" and "AThe Production of Law and Legal Discourse: Theoretical Considerations" (Moderator) (Panel on Epistemic Considerations on Identities, Rights, and the State Presentation, Law and Society Association and Canadian Law and Society Association Joint Meeting, Vancouver, Can., May 2002).
    • Susan Carle, Panelist, Advanced Conflicts Issues in Legal Ethics Law (Energy and Mineral Law Foundation Annual Meeting, Balt., Md., May 2002).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Comparative Approaches to Organizing Low-Wage Workers (Peggy Browning Fund Annual Labor Law Conference, Faculty Member, George Meany Center, Silver Spring, Md., Sept. 2001).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, From Buchanan to Button: Legal Ethics and the NAACP (Part II) (History of Legal Ethics Symposium, Unviersity of Chicago Law School, Chi., Ill., Feb. 2001).
    • Susan Carle, Scholarly Paper Award Presentation, From Buchanan to Button: Legal Ethics in the Early History of the NAACP, 1910-1920 (American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, S.F., Cal., Jan. 2001).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, Lawyering for Others: A Comparative Study of the Early NAACP and the National Consumers League (Washington, D.C. Roundtable on Historical Perspectives on Pro Bono Law, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Apr. 2000).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, Recharacterizing Women's Agency in Legal Theory and Practice@ (book chapters by Katherine Abrams) (Workshop on Hegemonic and Resistant Genderings, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., June 1999).
    • Susan Carle, Presentation, AElite Practice Culture and the Reshaping of Legal Ethics Rules: A Case Study of the First Legal Committee of the NAACP (Law and Society Annual Meeting, Chi., Ill., May 1999).
    • Susan Carle, Moderator, Litigating Work-Family Issues (Symposium on Gender, Work & Family Revisited, Villanova Law School, Villanova, Pa., Nov. 1998).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, Deconstructing the Ideal-Worker Norm in Market Work@ (book chapter by Joan Williams) (Faculty Speaker Series, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 1998).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Reports from the Field: Reflections by Recent New Law Teachers' Alumni (Association of American Law Schools Workshop for New Law Teachers, Wash., D.C., July 1998).
    • Susan Carle, Speaker, Experience As Text (Conference on Learning from Practice, Catholic University, Wash., D.C., Mar. 1998).
    • Susan Carle, Commentator, The Politics of Heterosexuality (Faculty Speaker Series, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Jan. 1998).
  • + Selected Honors & Awards

    • National Equal Justice Library Award (Distinguished Scholarship on the Subject of Equal Access to Justice Mar. 25, 2008).
    • Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Scholar Award for "Theorizing Agency" (American University Washington College of Law 2006).
    • Best Scholarly Paper Award for “Race, Class, and Legal Ethics in the Early NAACP, 1910-1920" (American Association of Law Schools 2001).