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Shaun Ossei-Owusu LPS’08

Presidential Professor of Law

Shaun Ossei-Owusu LPS’08 is an interdisciplinary legal scholar with expertise in legal history, criminal law and procedure, civil rights, and the legal profession.

His work sits at the intersection of law, history, and sociology and focuses on how governments meet their legal obligations to provide protections and benefits to poor people and racial minorities. He also works on stratification in legal education and the legal profession.

He has received awards from social science and humanities organizations such as the American Bar Foundation, American Society for Criminology, American Society for Legal History, The Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, New York University Law ReviewVirginia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Southern California Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and the American Journal of Law & Medicine, among other outlets. His public writing has appeared in the ABA Journal, American Prospect, Boston Review, Jacobin, Public Books, and Salon.

His first book project, The People’s Champ: Legal Aid from Slavery to Mass Incarceration, is under contract with Harvard University Press. His second project, tentatively titled Renegade at Law: How Our Legal Industry Creates, Justifies, and Compounds Inequality, is under contract with Liveright. Before joining the Penn Carey Law faculty, he was an Academic Fellow and a Kellis E. Parker Teaching Fellow at Columbia Law School.

He received his PhD from the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley and his JD from Berkeley Law. He previously practiced litigation and healthcare enforcement law at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C., and worked as a Loaned Associate focusing on public benefits appeals with the Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. He is a 2021 New America Fellow and a proud Bronx-born native. 

During the 2023-2024 academic year, Professor Ossei Owusu will be on sabbatical. During this leave, he will be a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University.