University of Pittsburgh

Jessie Allen

Assistant Professor of Law

Jessie Allen teaches civil procedure, legal ethics and civil rights. Her scholarship focuses on the social impact of adjudication. She is particularly interested in investigating concrete aspects of legal practice that usually escape theoretical analysis and considering how such practices shape legal rationality. 

Before coming to Pitt, Professor Allen taught Lawyering at New York University and did litigation and policy analysis, focusing on voting rights. Professor Allen spent the 2008 election cycle litigating and advocating against voting barriers as a senior attorney with Advancement Project, a racial justice organization in Washington D.C. Previously, she was a staff attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, where, among other things, she worked on judicial policy and litigated criminal disenfranchisement cases, including Johnson v. Bush, a class action challenging Florida's permanent voting ban for anyone convicted of a felony. 

Professor Allen holds a doctorate in law (JSD) from Columbia University, a JD from Brooklyn Law School and a BFA in theater from New York University.  Her doctoral dissertation, “Legal Magic: How Ritual Formality and Doctrinal Formalism Help Adjudication Shape Our World,” draws on her background in both theater and litigation.  Following graduation from law school, she clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval, U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Second Circuit (1996-97). She then served as a Bristow Fellow with the Office of the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice (1997-98), and clerked for Judge Edward R. Korman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (1999-2000). She is the author of the blog Blackstoneweekly and has published articles in law reviews in the United States and South Africa and in other journals, including Dissent and American Lawyer.


  • JSD, Columbia University School of Law
  • JD, Brooklyn Law School
  • BFA, New York University School of the Arts
  • Selected Publications

    Books & Chapters

    • Magical Realism, Law and Magic: A Collection of Essays, Christine A. Corcos, ed. (2010, Carolina Academic Press).
    • Jessie Allen & Lawrence Norden, Final Report: 2008-2009 Ohio Elections Summit and Conference, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (2009).
    • Of Taints and Time: Race, Cause & Criminal Disenfranchisement, After the War on Crime 166, Mary Louise Frampton, Jonathan Simon & Ian F. Haney Lopez, eds. (2008, NYU Press).



    • Blackstone Weekly – a weblog conversation with William Blackstone on the Commentaries.

    SSRN Author Page

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