Professor Heather Abraham (@heather_sol_a) directs the Civil Rights & Transparency Clinic at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, a litigation clinic dedicated to enforcing and advancing civil rights and government accountability, with a particular emphasis on fair housing, open government, and freedom of the press. Professor Abraham’s academic research and scholarship focuses on enforcement of the federal Fair Housing Act, and to state and local human rights laws, and explores how fair housing laws can be used to reduce residential segregation.
She began her legal career as a judicial clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She previously served as a Supervising Attorney in the Civil Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law. Prior to teaching, she worked as a legal services attorney, representing low-income renters in eviction proceedings. In that role, she recognized the need for more proactive and holistic solutions for people with a history of homelessness. In response, she organized a resilient coalition of public and private partners to launch a restorative, problem-solving “Community Outreach Court,” to mitigate the collateral consequences of conviction and break the debtor’s cycle. In 2018, the Michigan Courts honored her with the Robert Griffin award for her contributions to the judiciary.
Early in her career, she worked in the U.S. Senate as a legislative staff member and served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she worked collaboratively with civil servants to rebuild the post-civil war municipal government. She earned her J.D. and Master of Public Policy in housing and community development from the University of Minnesota. She received her LL.M. from Georgetown Law.