Research Summary

I am interested in how law produces and regulates families, gender, and economic inequality. With feminist jurisprudence as my base, I have focused primarily on three areas of law: employment discrimination law, family law, and social welfare law. Critical to much of my research have been questions concerning the state’s role in defining families, how gender norms operate within institutions, and the relationship between gender-based and economic inequality.


  • 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 in two areas: work and family conflict and the legal regulation of non-nuclear families.  She is particularly interested in how the law perpetuates gender-based economic inequality. 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 Feminism for Everyone (Seattle 2011), Transgressive Caregiving (Florida State 2005), and The Attachment Gap: Employment Discrimination Laws, Women’s Cultural Caregiving, and the Limits of Economic and Liberal Legal Theory (Michigan J.L. Reform 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