Nancy Gertner


Judge Nancy Gertner is a former judge in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts who served on the bench from 1994 to 2011. She is now a professor of practice at Harvard Law School, where she has taught subjects including criminal law, criminal procedure, forensic science, and sentencing. She also previously taught at Yale Law School.  


 Judge Gertner earned her bachelor’s degree at Barnard College, her M.A. in Political Science at Yale University, and her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor on The Yale Law Journal. She was appointed to the judicial bench in 1994 by President Clinton.  


In 2008 she received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, only the second woman to receive it (Justice Ginsburg was the first). She became a Leadership Council Member of the International Center for Research on Women the same year. In 2010 she received the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award. In 2011 she received the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Hennessey award for judicial excellence, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brandeis University. In 2012 she received the Arabella Babb Mansfield award from the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Leila J. Robinson Award of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts. She has been selected to receive the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement from the American Bar Association Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession in August 2014.  


She has been profiled on a number of occasions in the Boston Globe, the ABA Journal, Boston Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. She has written and spoken widely on various legal issues and has appeared as a keynote speaker, panelist or lecturer concerning civil rights, civil liberties, employment, criminal justice and procedural issues, throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her autobiography, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, was released on April 26, 2011. Her book, The Law of Juries, co-authored with attorney Judith Mizner, was published in 1997 and updated in 2010. She has published articles, and chapters on sentencing, discrimination, and forensic evidence, women’s rights, and the jury system, and she continues to teach and write about women’s issues around the world.