Syracuse University


Paula C. Johnson

Professor of Law
College of Law
Syracuse University

Phone: (315) 443-3364

B.A., University of Maryland at College Park
J.D., Temple University
LL.M., Georgetown University

Paula C. Johnson is professor of law at Syracuse University College of Law.  She was the Sparks Chair at the University of Alabama School of Law in 2008, and served as the Haywood Burns Chair in Civil Rights at CUNY Law School in 2005-2006, where she taught a seminar entitled, International Conflict Resolution in Africa. She also held the Syracuse University College of Law Bond, Schoeneck and King Distinguished Professorship from 2004-2006.  She was co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), a national organization of approx. 900 law professors from 2002-2003.  She earned her B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park; her J.D. from Temple University School of Law; and her LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Professor Johnson and Professor Janis McDonald co-direct the Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) at Syracuse University College of Law, which investigates racially-motivated murders committed during the civil rights era.  She also was co-director of the Sierra Leone UN War Crimes Tribunal Project, within the Center for Global Law & Practice, with Professors Donna Arzt and Lucille Rignanese.  She was the founding director of the Law in Zimbabwe Summer Internship Program. 

Her writings include Johnson, et al. (editors), Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States (Univ. of Calif. Press 2010), and Johnson, Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women in Prison (NYU Press 2003).  Her law review articles also include, Honoring William H. Johnson, Class of 1903: The First African American Graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, 55 Syracuse Law Review 429 (2005); Ad-In/Ad-Out: Deciding Victory and Defeat in Affirmative Action Legal Contestations, 66 Albany Law Review 433 (2003); Danger in the Diaspora: Law, Culture and Violence Against Women of African Descent in the United States and South Africa, 1 Univ. of Iowa Journal of Gender, Race and Justice 471 (1998); and Silence Equals Death: The Response to AIDS within Communities of Color, University of Illinois Law Review 1075 (1992).

Professor Johnson’s service includes a broad range of College of Law, University and Community committees and organizations.  She served on the Chancellor’s Search Committee, and has served as co-chair of Sistaprof, an organization of Africana women professors at Syracuse University.  She served as co-chair of Syracuse University’s LGBT Concerns Committee.  Her public service also has included membership on the boards of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), Empire State Justice Alliance, the Center for Community Alternatives, and the Battered Women’s Justice Project National Advisory Committee. 

In 2003, she received the Unsung Heroine Award from the Syracuse University Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Committee, and the Woman of the Year Award from the Syracuse University African American Male Congress.