Adjunct Professor of Law
Tamar Birckhead is visiting Duke Law from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is an associate professor of law. At UNC she teaches the Juvenile Justice Clinic and the criminal lawyering process. Her research interests focus on issues related to juvenile justice policy and reform, criminal law and procedure, and indigent criminal defense. Her scholarship appears in the Buffalo Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Rutgers Law Review, and Washington and Lee Law Review, among others. Her current projects includeThe 'Youngest Profession': Consent, Autonomy, and Prostituted Children, forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review. She is also co-editing the third edition of a casebook, Children, Parents, and the Law, with Professor Leslie J. Harris.
Prior to joining the UNC School of Law faculty in 2004, Birckhead taught at Suffolk University Law School in the Suffolk Defenders Program, a year-long criminal defense clinic. After clerking for the late and the Hon. Edith Fine in the Massachusetts Appeals Court, she practiced for ten years as a public defender, representing indigent criminal defendants in the Massachusetts trial and appellate courts as a staff attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services and in federal district court in Boston as an assistant federal public defender. Birckhead has defended clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, from violent felony offenses in state court to acts of terrorism in federal court. Among her clients was Richard Reid, the attempted "Shoe Bomber" prosecuted in the First Circuit under the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
Licensed to practice in North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts, Birckhead has been a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education programs across the United States as well as a faculty member at the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School. She is vice president of the board for the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence and has been appointed to the executive council of the Juvenile Justice and Children's Rights Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is also a member of the advisory board for the North Carolina Juvenile Defender as well as a member of the Criminal Defense Section and the Juvenile Defender Section of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. Birckhead received her B.A. degree in English literature with honors from Yale University and her J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School, where she served as Recent Developments Editor of theHarvard Women's Law Journal.