Jessica K. Steinberg

Jessica Steinberg
Professor of Law
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
[email protected]

Jessica Steinberg’s research interests are in the areas of civil procedure, state courts, access to justice, and poverty law, with an emphasis on original empirical research. Her recent scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in leading journals, including the Columbia Law Review, NYU Law ReviewGeorgetown Law JournalStanford Law Review, Harvard Law Review Forum, and UCLA Law Review, among others. Professor Steinberg has been named a Bellow Scholar for her research on lawyerless courts and is a former Chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Poverty Law. 

Professor Steinberg teaches civil procedure and criminal procedure. Prior to this, she taught the Prisoner & Reentry Clinic, which performed groundbreaking work on behalf of prisoners and returning citizens. The clinic freed more than two dozen men from prison and terminated parole and supervised release for many more. The clinic developed the first-ever parole treatise for DC prisoners incarcerated in the federal Bureau of Prisons and regularly testified on bills to promote “second chance” laws for people with felony records. The clinic’s work on clemency under President Obama’s campaign to release nonviolent, low-level drug offenders was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

Professor Steinberg is a primary author of several bills to promote a fair criminal justice system in the District of Columbia, including legislation to create compassionate release for older prisoners, expand good time credits for people serving long terms of incarceration, and increase employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records. For her role in developing a Compassionate Release Clearinghouse to expand representation for prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Steinberg received the Wiley A. Brant Award for “dismantling injustice” from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Prior to joining the GW Law faculty, Professor Steinberg served as the Jay M. Spears Fellow at Stanford Law School, and an Equal Justice Works Fellow for the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. Professor Steinberg earned a BA magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College and a JD from Stanford University.

Curriculum Vitae    Publications


BA, Barnard College, Columbia University; JD, Stanford University

In the News

"Great Start, Mr. President. Bring on More Mass Pardons"

October 13, 2022
 Jessica K. Steinberg wrote for the Los Angeles Times about President Biden’s pardon of 6,500 people charged with simple marijuana possession.

"America’s Lawyerless Courts"

July 18, 2022

Jessica Steinberg and other legal scholars work to recommend large-scale changes in lawyerless civil courts.

"Sick, Elderly Prisoners Are At Risk for COVID-19. A New D.C. Law Makes It Easier for Them to Seek Early Release."

December 30, 2020
Jessica K. Steinberg is quoted in The Washington Post about how COVID-19 sparked compassionate release programs for prisoners.

"A Second Chance at Life"

June 27, 2017
GW Law Clinic students score two clemency victories. Read the full story on pg. 25 of the GW Law Magazine.

"Law School Clinics Vital Role in Clemency Cases"

September 01, 2015
Student-attorneys Courtney Francik, JD '15 and Bart Sheard, JD '15, worked on Mr. Norris' case with support from Professor Jessica Steinberg and Friedman Fellow Mira Edmonds.