Research Summary

My scholarship addresses issues of gender, law, and inequality, with a focus on employment discrimination law and family law. Critical to much of my research have been questions concerning the legal regulation of nontraditional families, how law can disrupt discriminatory processes of exclusion within institutions such as workplaces, and the relationship between sexual and economic inequality. Methodologically, my research employs social science in service of advancing legal knowledge.


  • J.S.D., Law, Columbia University
  • LL.M., Law, Columbia University
  • J.D., Law, University of Maryland
  • B.A., Political Science, The George Washington University


Professor Laura T. Kessler is a nationally known expert on workplace sex discrimination arising from pregnancy and family care work, the legal regulation of non-nuclear families, and reproductive rights. Kessler's scholarship is widely-cited and well-known as providing rigorous, comprehensive, theoretically informed, interdisciplinary analyses of cutting edge issues involving discrimination, families, and work.  Some examples include Employment Discrimination and the Domino Effect (2018), The Other Side of Reproductive Rights (2015), Feminism for Everyone (2011),Transgressive Caregiving (2005), and The Attachment Gap: Employment Discrimination Laws, Women’s Cultural Caregiving, and the Limits of Economic and Liberal Legal Theory (2001). Prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Kessler clerked for the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, litigated class-action civil rights cases for the ACLU of Maryland, and served as a teaching fellow at Columbia Law School.

Areas of Expertise

Family Law

Employment Discrimination

Feminist Jurisprudence

Law and Social Sciences

Women and Legal Education