Mari Matsuda is a professor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. She has previously taught at the law schools of the University of California-Los Angeles and Georgetown University. The United States’ first female tenured law professor, she is a leading scholar on critical race theory, but has also worked on issues related to constitutional law, torts, civil rights law, and feminist theory. Her writing has inspired and influenced diverse academics and legal theorists: her law review articles are regularly amongst the most cited, and she has advised South Africa on its post-apartheid constitution.
Ms. Matsuda is equally beloved by her current students for “her continued commitment to confront racism and sexism.” Her effectiveness as a professor was acknowledged by the Society of American Law Teachers, which in 2014 named her a “Great Teacher.” Matsuda has prioritized both deep intellectual engagement and passionate social justice work, as reflected by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s decision to honor her with its Justice in Action Award.
In the words of the HLS community member who nominated her, “Her continued commitment to confront racism and sexism inspires my hopes for the law.”
Matsuda received a B.A. from Arizona State University, a J.D. from the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law, and an L.L.M. from Harvard Law School.