Robyn Powell

Associate Professor of Law
B.S., Bridgewater State University, 2003
M.A., Brandeis University, 2016
J.D., Suffolk University Law School, 2007
Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2020

Professor Robyn Powell joins OU Law this summer after spending the last two years as the Bruce R. Jacob Visiting Assistant Professor at the Stetson University College of Law. She previously was an Instructor at Boston University School of Law for three years. Holding a Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University, Dr. Powell is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the rights of parents with disabilities. 

At OU, she will be teaching courses on Family Law, Disability Law, and Professional Responsibility, among others. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of disability law and family law, reproductive justice, and public health law, with a particular emphasis on examining how laws and policies affect disabled people’s decision-making about whether and when to have children.

1.  What’s your favorite thing about being a law professor? I love everything about being a law professor! I really enjoy working with students. Teaching and helping to create future generations of lawyers and leaders is important to me. Mentorship is also critical. As a disabled woman, I know the struggles that disabled law students experience, and I am committed to supporting others as they navigate law school. I also love research and writing. My scholarship is geared toward making change. As someone who practiced law at nonprofit organizations and the federal government, I know just how essential research is for advocacy and systems change. Thus, I write with the aim of my research being useful to activists and policymakers.

2.  What is the project you’re working on now that you’re most excited about? As the battle for reproductive freedom intensifies, I am studying how laws, policies, and practices in the United States have weaponized reproduction to subjugate disabled people. I am especially interested in examining how laws and policies constrain people with disabilities from choosing whether to have children and how the current attack on reproductive rights will disproportionately affect people with disabilities. The reproductive oppression of disabled people gained the mainstream’s attention because of Britney Spears and her fight to end her conservatorship, which, among other things, was prohibiting her from having more children. My scholarship aims to draw connections between the contemporary struggle for reproductive freedom and the experiences of disabled people.

3.  What are you looking forward to the most about coming to OU? OU Law has a wonderful reputation, and I am so excited to join! It is a highly accomplished and impressive school with talented faculty and committed students. From my first interview, I knew that it was a school I wanted to be a part of. Everyone I met has been so welcoming. I am looking forward to becoming a part of the OU Law community.

4.  Beach or mountains? This is a tough question. I love the beach and will miss living so close to it (though it is just an airplane ride away!). I grew up near the water and have always been connected to it. However, I also ski and therefore love the mountains. I haven’t been skiing since February 2020 because of the pandemic, and I look forward to visiting Colorado next winter!

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