Joanna C. Schwartz
Joanna C. Schwartz

Joanna Schwartz is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where she teaches Civil Procedure and a variety of courses on police accountability and public interest lawyering. She received UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015, and served as Vice Dean for Faculty Development from 2017-2019.

Professor Schwartz is one of the country's leading experts on police misconduct litigation and additionally studies the dynamics of modern civil litigation. She is co-author, with Stephen Yeazell, of a leading casebook, Civil Procedure (10th Edition), and her scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Law Review, New York University Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Texas Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among others.

Professor Schwartz is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. After law school, Professor Schwartz clerked for Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York and Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was then associated with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, in New York City, where she specialized in police misconduct, prisoners' rights, and First Amendment litigation.

Columns by Joanna C. Schwartz
The Unnecessary Protection of Qualified Immunity

UCLA law professor Joanna C. Schwartz and South Carolina law professor Seth W. Stoughton address some of the arguments commonly asserted to support qualified immunity, the doctrine that shields police officers from civil liability for constitutional violations. Schwartz and Stoughton argue that eliminating qualified immunity should not affect police decision-making and that existing Supreme Court doctrine gives police officers plenty of leeway to make mistakes without violating the Constitution. Because qualified immunity applies only to unreasonable actions by police officers, eliminating or substantially restricting it should not a chilling effect on police officers’ ability or willingness to respond to critical incidents.