Jyoti Nanda, Associate Professor of Law

Jyoti Nanda

Associate Professor of Law

Email: jnanda@ggu.edu

Jyoti Nanda, Professor of Law at Golden Gate University (GGU), studies criminal and juvenile law, focusing on how legal actors, institutions, and doctrines have created, ignored, or responded to the dramatic expansion of the carceral state. In 2022, GGU awarded her the Justice Jesse W. Carter Faculty Scholarship Award for her commitment to impactful and cutting-edge scholarship. She is interested in the intersections of criminal law and social hierarchies shaped by race, age, gender, dis/ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and immigration. Her research draws on her background in Ethnic Studies and her experience as a youth advocate and civil rights lawyer to better understand contemporary legal practices within the historical context of racial and economic stratifications in the United States. Nanda’s 2012 article Blind Discretion: Girls of Color in the Delinquency System served as the framework for a national report on the adultification of girls of color in our criminal justice system. She has written on how race functions to ascribe and criminalize disability within the special education context in over-policed and over-surveilled schools. In 2022, she published a ground-breaking paper on the flaws of juvenile probation, arguing that it is a deceptive system leading youth deeper into the criminal system. In 2023, Nanda was named a Salzburg Global Fellow and invited as a youth scholar to two international conventions of experts addressing Youth Violence and Safety in the Netherlands and Austria.

Nanda’s articles have been published in the UCLA Law Review, Columbia Journal of Race & Law, Nevada Law Journal, Lewis & Clark Law Review, and the Disability Law Journal, and she is a Co-Editor of the country’s leading textbook of youth law, Children and the Law (8th ed.). Nanda’s research and writing appear in the national press in print, T.V., and radio. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship and advocacy. Nanda teaches Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility, Youth & Justice, Critical Race Theory, Rebellious Lawyering, Problem-Solving in the Public Interest, and Comparative Racial Justice & Social Justice Law. Nanda was recently a Visiting Professor at U.C. College of Law, San Francisco (formerly “U.C. Hastings”), and she taught a summer 2023 law class at the Université Paris Nanterre. She will be a Visiting Professor at USC Gould School of Law and at U.C. Davis School of Law.

Nanda also serves as the American Bar Association’s Reporter of the forthcoming ABA Youth Justice National Standards. She is the principal investigator with the Vera Institute and the African American Policy Forum on the Girls/Gender Non-Confirming Youth Research Project. The Project is a comprehensive case file review of 200+ closed case files of pregnant detained girls – to end the incarceration of all girls in L.A. County and beyond. She also co-founded Youth Justice Navigator (YJN), an innovative project working with system-impacted youth; YJN is a web-based app to help educate and empower youth and their families to navigate the complexities of the court process. Nanda is the Faculty Advisor to GGU’s Race, Gender, Sexuality & Social Justice Law Journal – a journal founded by GGU law students in 2020.

Before joining GGU in 2019, Nanda taught for 16 years at UCLA School of Law in the Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law Programs. While at UCLA, she co-taught a course with Distinguished Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, and for five years, she founded and ran UCLA’s Youth & Justice Clinic to train and empower law/social work students to holistically enforce the unmet educational rights of children in juvenile criminal cases with the goal of diversion. Nanda began her career as one of 25 nationally selected Skadden Fellows and practiced civil rights law at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational, Fund. Inc. (LDF). She graduated from Northwestern Law School, where she was editor of the Northwestern Law Review, and U.C. Berkeley. Born in Nairobi, she is a proud immigrant and the daughter of parents who were refugees and immigrants from Pakistan/India and Kenya. Nanda considers herself a scholar, teacher, and lawyer activist.

Research Interests & Areas of Specialization

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Juvenile/Youth Justice
  • Social Justice & Public Interest Laws
  • Women/Girls Incarceration


  • BA, University of California, Berkeley
  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law

Professional & Teaching Experience

  • Faculty Advisor (Inaugural), GGU Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice Law Journal.
  • Reporter, American Bar Association National Juvenile Justice Standards Task Force – nominated by the ABA to serve as author of national standards (forthcoming). 2017-present.
  • Salzburg Global Scholar – Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice, Salzburg, Austria. Invited to participate in a global convening of scholars and advocates to create recommendations for addressing youth safety and justice. Co-drafted, Salzburg Statement on Youth Violation Reduction. 2023-present.
  • Principal Investigator, Girls/Gender Non-Confirming Youth Research Project with Vera Institute, and the African American Policy Forum – comprehensive case file review of 200+ closed case files of pregnant detained .Research focused on youth’s pathways into the carceral system and systemic responses. The goal is to create a blueprint of effective non-carceral placement options and support advocacy to end the incarceration of all girls. 2019-present.
  • Founder & Co-Director, Knowledge is Power. A partnership between GGU Law and UCLA School of Law Criminal Justice Program – an innovative project working with system-impacted youth; YJN is a web-based app to help educate and empower youth and their families to navigate the complexities of the youth court process. 2019-present.
  • PEN America Writing Mentor. Invited to mentor Sarah Wang (national writer, poet) as part of PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship Program. 2020-2021.
  • Instructor, African American Policy Forum, Critical Race Studies Summer School. 2022.
  • Invited Scholar, Cross-National Strategies to Advance Systems of Youth Justice and Child Protection, Leiden, Netherlands. 2022.
  • Lecturer, UCLA Law Fellows Program – teach a Saturday Academy in a national law school diversity pipeline program. 2008-present
  • Former Leadership Advisory Board Member, Children’s Defense Fund, California.
  • Initiated and co-lead, in partnership with the African American Policy Forum, two public hearings on the unmet needs of girls and women of color in Los Angeles (2014 & 2019).
  • Co-Faculty Director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA School of Law.
  • Associate Professor, UCLA School of Law and Binder Clinical Teaching Fellow.
  • Youth & Justice Clinic, Founded & Taught students in a legal clinic designed to serve unmet civil needs of youth in Los Angeles County (2014-2019)
  • UCLA School of Law, Binder Clinical Teaching Fellow & Lecturer in Law, Core Faculty, Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy, Faculty Co-Chair, Critical Race Studies Program (2003-2018). Taught 600 students in doctrinal, clinical and writing courses.
  • Girls Hearing: Breaking the Silence Co-Lead with the African American Policy Forum (2015 & 2019)
  • NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Skadden Fellow/Staff Attorney (2001-2003)

Selected Publications

Selected Speeches & Presentations

  • Panelist, Carceral Spaces, Children’s Defense Fund-CA, Annual Conference (forthcoming Aug. 2023)
  • Keynote Invite, Punitive School Surveillance, Children’s Mental Health Advocacy Conference, Live’s In the Balance (forthcoming Oct. 2023) (2,000 participants anticipated)
  • Scholar Invite, Faculty Workshop, New York Law School, Set Up To Fail: Juvenile Probation Conditions as a Driver of Incarceration (Jan. 2023)
  • Panelist. Affirmative (Re)Action: Diversity’s Future, AALS 2023 Annual Meeting (Jan. 2023)
  • Invited Keynote, California Public Defender Association Youth Conference, Advocacy for and Decarceration of Young Women, Monterey, California (Jan. 2023) (500+ attendees)
  • Panelist, Community Justice & Incarceration, Diversity and Social Justice Forum, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law (Oct. 28, 2022).
  • Instructor, African American Policy Forum Critical Race Studies Summer School. Taught summer class, Why Race & Gender Matter: Intersectionality and Trauma Informed Care (Summer 2022).
  • Panelist, The Use of Status Offense as Race and Gendered Exercises of State Violence, State Violence and Womxn: Defending the Reaches of Modern Policing, California Western Law Review (March 2022).
  • Invited Lecturer, Harvard Law School Disability Law Student Association, The Construction & Criminalization of Disability in Poor Children and Children of Color (February 2022). Discussion focused on how race determines whether children with disabilities receive additional accommodations or are subject to incarceration.
  • PACE All About Girls National Summit (March 2019, Florida) (Keynote on Opening Panel: Systems Reform)
  • America Association of Law Schools (AALS), Section on Clinical Legal Education Teaching Racial Justice (July 2019)
  • UCLA School of Law Review Discourse Symposium, Sick of the System:  Health and Wellness in the Carceral State (November 2017) (Moderator on Opening Panel: Vulnerable Populations in the Carceral State: Addressing the Health Needs of Immigrants, Juveniles, and Aging Adults)
  • Georgetown Law School Juvenile Justice Initiative/National Juvenile Defender Center, The Right to Remain Children: Race and Juvenile Justice 50 Years After Gault (May 2017) (Invited Panelist on Girls Panel)
  • Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Clinical Conference Plenary: Tacking into the Wind: Incorporating Social Upheaval into Clinics and Podium Teaching as the Country Becomes Increasingly Polarized (May 2017) (Panelist)  
  • Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, Black History Month (2017) (Featured Speaker)
  • REPAIR, UCLA Disability Studies, Damaging Minds and Bodies, Trauma, Violence and the Criminal Justice System (2017) (Organizer/Panelist) 
  • UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program, Is Separation the Solution: A Convening to Discuss the Theory and Practice of Gender-Based School Reforms for At-Risk Students of Color (May 2016) (Invited Panelist)
  • Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Board Meeting, Motion on Juvenile Indigent Defense (April 5, 2016) (Invited by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to speak in support of Motion)
  • UCI School of Law, Southern California Clinical Faculty Workshop (2016) (Invited to comment, scholarly paper)
  • Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, Inequities in Public Education: A Legal Perspective  (April 2016) (Invited Panelist)
  • Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office 34th Annual Juvenile Delinquency Law Training (2016) (Trainer)
  • White House Council on Women & Girls (and the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color: A Research Agenda for the Next Decade (November 2015) (Invited Panelist)
  • UCLA School of Law, Sexual Assault and the Campus: The Role of Title IX (November 2015) (Moderator)

Honors & Awards

  • 2022 Jesse W. Carter Award for Faculty Scholarship (Awarded for “transformative, justice-seeking scholarship representing the highest intellectual and moral commitments of GGU Law” and to honor the trailblazing late Supreme Court Justice Carter).
  • 2022 Award of Recognition, Race, Gender, Sexuality & Social Justice Law Journal (Awarded for “creating a space for social justice in legal education and for continued support of our most championed causes.”)
  • Received the UCLA School of Law Public Interest Award from UCLA for building a Public Interest community for 16 years.
  • Received the Trailblazer Award from the South Asian Bar Association Bar Association, 2014.
  • Received the Dream of Los Angeles Award from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, 2012.

Selected Media

  • The Guardian, Kamala Harris: can a ‘top cop’ win over progressives in 2020? Jan. 19, 2019. (quoted)
  • The Vox, Why Kamala Harris is under attack for a decade-old anti-truancy program Feb. 7, 2019 (quoted)
  • NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (KPCC), Take Two (Radio Talk Show), Interviewed on impact of Los Angeles County.  Board of Supervisor’s decision to end the practice of juvenile solitary confinement.  May 4, 2016.
  • NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (KPCC), Lawyers Reveal What Compton School Trauma Reforms May Look Like. April 1, 2016. (Asked to comment on impact of lawsuit). 
  • BLUE PRINT MAGAZINE, (INAUGURAL ISSUE), Child Criminals: A Legacy of Failure, a Chance for Progress, Scott Fields, Spring 2015 (Commented on the unintended consequences of locking up juvenile offenders).
  • UCLA DAILY BRUIN, UCLA Researchers Seek to Influence Policy Change Across Diverse Fields, Chandani Soni, June 7, 2015 (Interviewed on current research on girls of color in the American justice system).
  • HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY (HSU), UNIVERSITY BLOG, Jyoti Nanda Speaks at HSU, Connor Amans, April 21, 2015 (Article & Video from Keynote Presentation at HSU).  Blog Post: https://the120newshum.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/jyoti-nanda-speaks-hsu-2/
  • COLORLINES, L.A. Girls and Women of Color Demand to Be Heard Amidst My Brother’s Keeper, Julianne Hing, August 1, 2014 (Quoted on need to collect data on girls of color in Los Angeles in criminal justice systems).
  • The L.A. Daily Journal, Release Pregnant Girls From Juvenile Hall Now, April 7, 2020 (Co-authored with Tali Gires)