Margareth Etienne

Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs
Carl L. Vacketta Professor of Law


Margareth Etienne, the Carl L. Vacketta Professor of Law, is the inaugural associate dean for graduate and international programs, where she oversees the College of Law’s JSD, LLM, and MSL programs. Etienne served as the College’s associate dean for academic affairs from 2012-13, the head of the University of Illinois’s Department of African American Studies from 2011-12, and as a provost fellow for the University of Illinois from 2009-11. She has also served on the executive board of the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility from 2006-09.

Professor Etienne teaches criminal law and procedure, sentencing, education law and children in the law. Her research focuses on legal decision-making and ethics in institutions ranging from criminal courts to schools and families. In 2004, she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct judicial training on white-collar crime in Senegal.

Her select publications include “Understanding Parity As A First principle of Sentencing” (58 Stanford L. Rev., 2006); “The Ethics of Cause Lawyering: An Empirical Examination of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Cause Lawyers” (95 J. Crim. L. & Criminology, 2005); “The Declining Utility of the Right to Counsel in Federal Court: An Empirical Study on the Role of Defense Attorney Advocacy Under the Sentencing Guidelines” (92 California Law Review, 2004); “Remorse, Responsibility, and Regulating Advocacy: Making Defendants Pay for the Sins of Their Lawyers” (78New York University Law Review, 2003). Her article, “Addressing Gender Based Violence in an International Context,” appeared in 18 Harvard Women’s Law Journal139 (1995). She was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School in 2007-08 and has made presentations at Stanford Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, Northwestern University Law School, Yale Law School, Fordham Law School, University of Oregon Law School, Notre Dame Law School, and the American Bar Foundation.

Professor Etienne received her bachelor’s degree in history with honors from Yale University, and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. Following law school, Etienne clerked for Judge Diana G. Motz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2001, she practiced criminal law in state and federal courts for several years.


JD Yale Law School
AB Yale University

Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure
Children and the Law


Children and the Law
Criminal Law
Education Law

Selected Publications

What Can Be Learned From the Wrongfully Accused?, JOTWELL, May 2014.

Lessons Learned from International Prosecutions of Sex Crimes, JOTWELL, August 2013.

Arrest Records and the Right to Know, in The Right to Privacy in the Light of Media Convergence (de Gruyter Press) (2012)

Making Sense of the Ethnic Profiling Debate, Miss. L. J. 2012. Rape Prosecutions and the Civil Rights Movement, JOTWELL, May 2011.

Sentencing Women: Reassessing the Claims of Disparity, 14 Iowa J. Gender, Race & Justice 73 (2010).

An Intriguing Thought Experiment on Culpability, JOTWELL

Restoring Justice Through Individualized Processes, in Criminal Law Conversations (Oxford University Press) (2009).

In Need of a Theory of Mitigation, in Criminal Law Conversations (Oxford University Press) (2009).

Legal and Practical Implication of Evidence-Based Sentencing by Judges, Chapman J. of Crime & Policy (2009).

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