May & June access restricted

The University of Pittsburgh Law Building is currently undergoing major renovations. Access to the building and law library is restricted until July. Please email or call (412) 648-1490 if you need assistance.

Jerry Dickinson

Associate Professor of Law


Professor Dickinson's teaching and scholarship focus on constitutional law, property, race and the law and affordable housing law and policy. His scholarship has featured in numerous law reviews, including Ohio State Law Journal, University of Miami Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, and NYU Journal of Law and Liberty. Professor Dickinson's editorials frequently appear in national outlets, such as The Atlantic, Washington Post and The Hill.

Professor Dickinson is also a national leading expert on constitutional law issues related to Congress, executive powers and the separation of powers. He was invited to submit written testimony at a hearing in 2017 before the U.S. Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs regarding the Trump Administration's Executive Order 13767 mandating the construction of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That same year, Professor Dickinson joined scholars from across the globe to speak about the border wall and its impact on US-Mexico relations at the University of Maryland School of Law's symposium on The US-Mexico Relationship in International Law and Politics. In 2020, Professor was invited to speak about the Trump Administration's national emergency declaration over the border wall at Georgetown Law's symposium on Presidential Emergency Powers: Legal Framework and Perspective for Reform.

Professor Dickinson is a former candidate for public office. In 2020, he was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District primary, running a high-profile progressive campaign against a 25-year incumbent on issues related to racial justice, healthcare reform, climate change, criminal justice reform and affordable housing.

Professor Dickinson provides pro bono legal services and engages in community activism in the Pittsburgh area. He serves as counsel for a community group in Pittsburgh to establish one of the region's first community land trusts for affordable housing located in a predominantly black neighborhood. He represents indigent tenants in eviction proceedings in Pittsburgh's poorest neighborhoods, conducts fair housing litigation in state court and regularly attends and speaks at protests and rallies throughout the region on racial justice issues.

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Dickinson was a lawyer at the law firm Reed Smith LLP. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He is a former Fulbright Scholar to South Africa, working as human rights activist organizing tenants and advocating on behalf of squatters in the inner-city slums and shantytowns of Johannesburg. In 2014, Professor founded and coordinated the Housing Rights Project, a pro bono initiative advocating on behalf of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings in Allegheny County in collaboration with the Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

Key/Recent Publications

Programs & Courses