Jenny M. Roberts

Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Scholarship

Office: Room 431
Phone: 202-274-4298
E-mail: vCard


Jenny Roberts co-directs the Criminal Justice Clinic. Her research focuses on the right to counsel, misdemeanors and the lower criminal courts, collateral consequences of criminal convictions, and indigent defense. Her articles have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, a number of state high and lower federal courts, and in numerous briefs to the Supreme Court and other courts. Professor Roberts won the Pauline Ruyle Moore Scholar Award for her article Why Misdemeanors Matter: Defining Effective Advocacy in the Lower Criminal Courts, 45 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 277 (2011). She received the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions in 2014.

Professor Roberts is co-President of the Clinical Legal Education Association, the nation's largest association of law teachers (http://cleaweb.org). She served as Reporter for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)’s Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction, which held a series of regional hearings and issued a report with recommendations relating to legal mechanisms for relief from the collateral consequences of criminal convictions in the state and federal systems (http://nacdl.org/criminaldefense.aspx?id=27373&libID=27342). She also sits on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the NACDL's "Getting Scholarship into Courts Project."

Professor Roberts previously taught at Syracuse University and in NYU's Lawyering program. Prior to teaching, she was a Senior Research Fellow at NYU Law School's Center for Research in Crime & Justice, a public defender in Manhattan, and a law clerk in the Southern District of New York.



Areas of Specialization

  • Clinical Legal Education
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Sentencing Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., Yale University

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

    • Jenny M. Roberts, Amicus brief to United States Supreme Court in Smith v. Cain, 2011 WL 3739380 (Aug. 19, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Proving Prejudice, Post-Padilla, 54 How. L.J. 693 (2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Ignorance is Effectively Bliss: Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions, Silence and Misinformation in the Guilty Plea Process, 95 Iowa L. Rev. 119 (2009).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, The Mythical Divide Between Collateral and Direct Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Involuntary Commitment of “Sexually Violent Predators, 93 Minn. L. Rev. 670 (2008).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Little, Too Late: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, the Duty to Investigate, and Pretrial Discovery in Criminal Cases, 31 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1097 (2004).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Jenny M. Roberts, Commentator, "Consequences of the Economic Crisis on Criminal Law in France" (presented by Prof. Pascal Beauvais), faculty exchange with Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense (American University Washington College of Law, Mar. 22, 2012).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Testimony, Bill to Amend “Unit” Rule in Maryland State Expungement Law (Judicial Proceedings Committee, Maryland State Senate, Annapolis, Md., Mar. 1, 2012).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Decriminalization Efforts in Jurisdictions Around the US (ABA State Implementation Project Roundtable, Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 3, 2012).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Speech, Plea Bargaining (Criminal Justice Theory & Practice Workshop, Yale Law School, Dec. 7, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Careers in Criminal Law (Gender and the Practice of Law Series, hosted by Women and the Law Program, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Oct. 20, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Workshop, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Theory, & Practice (Clinical Law Review Writer’s Workshop, NYU School of Law, N.Y.C., N.Y., Oct. 1, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Faculty Exchange with Adam Mickiewicz University law faculty (Poznan, Pol, Sept. 23-27, 2011.).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Commentator, American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar’s Petition for Renewal of Recognition [On Behalf of Clinical Legal Education Association] (Dept. of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality & Integrity, Alexandria, Va., June 9, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Commentator, Paper Presentation by Prof. Fuchino, "The Japanese Pretrial Conference: Does it Infringe on the Presumption of Innocence?" (Faculty Colloquium Exchange with University of Ritsumeikan School of Law (Kyoto, Jap.), American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 24, 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Why Misdemeanors Matter (Faculty Colloquium, William & Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Va., Feb. 17. 2011).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Speech, Proving Prejudice, Post-Padilla (7th Annual Wiley A. Branton/Howard L. J. Symposium, Howard Law School, D.C., Oct. 29, 2010).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Commentator, Paper Presentation by Prof. David B. Wexler, "From Theory to Practice and Back Again in Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Now Comes the Hard Part" (Faculty Colloquium Exchange with University of Puerto Rico School of Law at American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Oct. 21, 2010).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Moderator, New Scholars in Criminal Procedure (paper presentations) (Southeastern Association of Law Schools, Annual Conference, Palm Beach, Fla., Aug. 2010).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Commentator, Panel on Legal Education, Criminal Law and Procedural Law (Comparative Perspectives on Legal Education, Washington College of Law Faculty Roundtable Series with University of Carlos III Law School and University of Chile Law School, Jan. 2010).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Why Misdemeanors Matter (Race, Class, and Injustice from Arrest through Post-Conviction: Ideas for the New Administration Panel, LatCrit XIV, Oct. 2009).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Why Misdemeanors Matter (AALS Clinical Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, May 2009).
    • Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, The Mythical Divide Between Direct and Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Involuntary Commitment of ‘Sexually Violent Predators (AALS Clinical Conference, Tucson, Ariz., May 2008).
  • + Selected Media Appearances