Prof. Renée Lettow Lerner

Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School

Renée Lettow Lerner works in the fields of U.S. and English legal history, civil and criminal procedure, and comparative law. She focuses on the history of U.S. procedure and legal institutions, especially juries. She also examines the differences between current adversarial and nonadversarial legal systems. She regularly speaks to groups of U.S. and non-U.S. judges about comparative procedure and institutions. 

Professor Lerner is the author, with John Langbein and Bruce Smith, of the book History of the Common Law: The Development of Anglo-American Legal Institutions (Aspen Publishers 2009). Her recent writings include "The Troublesome Inheritance of Americans in Magna Carta and Trial by Jury," a chapter of the book Magna Carta and Its Modern Legacy, pp. 77-98 (Robert Hazell and James Melton eds., Cambridge University Press 2015); “The Failure of Originalism in Preserving Constitutional Rights to Civil Jury Trial,” 22 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 811 (2014); “The Rise of Directed Verdict: Jury Power in Civil Cases Before the Federal Rules of 1938,” 81 George Washington Law Review 448 (2013); and “Enlightenment Economics and the Framing of the U.S. Constitution,” 35 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 39 (2012). She is currently working on an article about federal judges commenting on evidence to juries and an article suggesting reforms to military justice. 

Professor Lerner received an A.B. summa cum laude in history from Princeton University. She did graduate work as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in English legal history. At Yale Law School, she was Articles Editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 2003 to 2005, she served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • B.A., Princeton University
  • M.Litt., Oxford University
  • J.D., Yale University

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Publications and Multimedia
The Past and Future of the Criminal and Civil Jury - Event Audio/Video
19th Annual Faculty Conference
January 23, 2017
Downsides of Civil Juries - Podcast
Litigation Practice Group Podcast
September 25, 2015