Skip to main content


Erika George, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law George earned a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she served as Articles Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago.

Prior to joining the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Professor George served as a law clerk for Judge William T. Hart on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, as a litigation associate for the law firms of Jenner & Block in Chicago and Coudert Brothers LLP in New York City, and as a fellow and later consultant to Human Rights Watch. In connection with her work with Human Rights Watch, Professor George conducted investigations in South Africa on women’s rights, children’s rights, violence, the right to education, and abuses related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She wrote a book-length report, Scared at School: Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools, which received widespread media coverage in South Africa and internationally. She currently serves as special counsel to the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.

Her research interests include globalization and the indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated nature of civil liberties and socioeconomic rights; cultural pluralism and rights universalism; gender violence and gender equality; justice and peace promotion in post-conflict societies; environmental justice; and the use of documentary film in human rights advocacy and education. Her current research explores the responsibility of multinational corporations to respect international human rights and various efforts to hold corporations accountable for alleged violations of such rights. She has presented her research internationally, addressing audiences in Europe, Africa, and South America.

Professor George serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, and as a member of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. She was co-chair of the Africa Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and a founding Advisory Board Member of the University of Utah’s Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy.

Professor George teaches Constitutional Law, International Human Rights Law, International Environmental Law, and Civil Procedure. In 2007 she was awarded the College of Law’s Early Career Award. She is an alumna of the ABF Summer Research Diversity Fellowship Program.

Shobita Parthasarathy is an Associate Professor of Public Policy. She does research on governance of transformative science and technology, both in the United States and abroad. Current areas of interest include: comparative and international politics of genetics and biotechnology; the politics of the patent system; regulation of genetic medicine; the governance of geoengineering; and the relationship between science and democracy. She recently published her first book, entitled Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007), which compares the development of genetic testing for breast cancer in the United States and Britain. Her current research focuses on the politics of patenting biotechnology in the US and Europe, exploring, in comparative perspective, how democratic objectives are interpreted by technical institutions. Primary funding for this project comes from a Scholar's Award from the Science, Technology, and Society Program of the National Science Foundation.

At Michigan, Shobita teaches courses in genetics and biotechnology policy, science and technology policy analysis, and political strategy. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from Cornell University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Northwestern University, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Cambridge. She has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.; the American Council of Learned Societies, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition, and Tax Law; the Wellcome Trust; and the National Science Foundation.

Lea Vandervelde, University of Iowa College of Law, is residence commencing Winter, 2011. She is the Josephine R. Witte Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law. She writes in the fields of employment law, property law, legal history and constitutional law. She received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.Her research in the areas of labor and property highlights the nature of legal change over time. She draws her inspiration from history, cross-cultural observation, and legal realism. Her trio of articles, published in the Yale and Stanford law journals, demonstrates the significance of gender in the historical development of rules in contracts, torts, and constitutional litigation respectively. Other articles have explored cultural patterns in land use law and the 13th Amendment and law of slavery. In search of cultural comparisons, she has visited South Africa and the Three Gorges Dam of the Yangtse River in China, Mount Koya and Kyoto, Japan and Jaipur, India where she has been working with Kailash Satyarthi and an organization called the Global March to End Child Slavery.

Site design by Webitects

© 2022 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.