Kim A. Taylor, class of 1977

Kim A. Taylor grew up in Harlem, New York until she attended Brown University (class of 1977). At Brown, Taylor was a very active member on campus, participating in several political activities, including a notable walk-out during which hundreds of students of color took over University Hall for 72 hours. Graduating in English (specifically in American Literature) and Political Science in 1977, Taylor went on to law school at Yale, at which point she made a formative friendship with Anita Hill, with whom she is still in contact. Upon graduating in 1980, she began practicing law as a public defender in Washington DC. Starting as a staff attorney, over the course of seven years, Taylor became the Director of the Public Defender Service, a position she served until 1991. As director, she “supervised a staff of 150 lawyers and staff with a budget of $7 million. Public Defender Service provided indigent defense in juvenile and criminal justice systems, initiated and settled a conditions of confinement suit against the District of Columbia for conditions in juvenile facilities, and launched a Prisoners Rights Program.” In 1991, amidst the United States Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill’s testimony of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas against her, Taylor started teaching courses related to law, ethics, and criminal defense at Stanford Law School. She then moved back to New York City, and started teaching at New York University School of Law. Between the years 2000-2001, she launched the Criminal Justice Program at the Brennan Centre for Justice at the NYU School of Law. This program provided technical assistance to public defenders and community activists seeking to collaborate on criminal justice issues. Following these two years, she then went on to be the regional managing director, and then chief executive officer, of Duke Corporate Education. Presently, Taylor is a professor of Clinical Law, with a “focus on the impact of race and gender on public policy – particularly criminal and juvenile justice policy – and the need to prepare lawyers to meet the demands of practice in and on behalf of underrepresented communities.” Additionally, Taylor has written numerous publications, including "Invisible Woman: Reflections on the Clarence Thomas Confirmation Hearing” (1993), “The Politics of Common Ground” (1998) “Empty Votes in Jury Deliberations” (2000), “Girl Talk – Examining Racial and Gender Lines in Juvenile Justice” 2006, and “Minority Rule: Redefining the Age of Criminality” (2014). Taylor has also received several awards for outstanding teaching, and has presented at various prestigious universities across the United States.