Anna Offit

Full-time faculty

Assistant Professor of Law

Phone: (214) 768-2580

Email: aoffit@smu.edu

Website: http://www.annaoffit.com/

AnnaOffit

Biography

Anna Offit is a legal scholar and cultural anthropologist with broad interests in prosecutorial ethics, the U.S. jury system, comparative law, and law and society. Her current research is on lay participation in the U.S. legal system. She teaches criminal law, evidence, and a research seminar on criminal jury reform.

Offit’s work has been published or is forthcoming in the Minnesota Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, the Fordham Law Review, the Washington Law Review, the Ohio State Law Journal, the UC Irvine Law Review, and the Political and Legal Anthropology Review among other law review and peer-reviewed journals. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Lois Roth Foundation.

Offit is a graduate of Princeton University’s Anthropology PhD program, and received her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and as a law clerk at the Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights.

Prior to joining the faculty at SMU Dedman School of Law, Offit served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at NYU Law School’s Civil Jury Project. She was also the recipient of a Fulbright grant to study the abolition of Norway’s jury system, and a Graduate Prize Fellowship from the Princeton University Center for Human Values.

Offit is an active member of the Law & Society Association and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology.

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Ethics
  • Evidence
  • Juries
  • Discrimination
  • Trial Strategy
  • Empirical Legal Research

Education

A.B., summa cum laude, Princeton University
M.Phil., University of Cambridge
J.D., Georgetown Law
Ph.D., Princeton University

Courses

Criminal Law
Evidence
Jury Reform

Books

Articles

Religious Convictions, 101 North Carolina Law Review __ (forthcoming 2022/2023)
SSRN

The Character of Jury Exclusion, 106 Minnesota Law Review 2173 (2022)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Antidiscrimination Law through a Sociolegal Lens, Alabama Law Review 4 (2022) (invited symposium)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Benevolent Exclusion, 96 Washington Law Review 613 (2021)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Race-Conscious Jury Selection, 82 Ohio State Law Journal 1 (2021)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Playing by the Rule: How ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) Can Regulate Jury Exclusion, 89 Fordham Law Review 4 (2021) (invited colloquium)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Utfordringer ved komparative juryundersøkelser: Tilfellet Norge, Tidsskrift for strafferett (2019) [The Challenges of Comparative Jury Research: The Norwegian Case, Journal of Criminal Justice]
SSRN | SMU Repository

Prosecuting in the Shadow of the Jury, 113 Northwestern University Law Review 1071 (2019)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Strengthening the Civil Jury, 31 California Litigation 3 (2018) (with Richard L. Jolly)

The Jury is Out: An Ethnographic Study of Lay Participation in the Norwegian Legal System, Political and Legal Anthropology Review (2019)
SSRN 

With Jurors in Mind: An Ethnographic Study of Prosecutors' Narratives, Law, Culture and the Humanities Journal (2017)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Peer Review: Navigating Uncertainty in the United States Jury System, 6 U.C. Irvine Law Review 169 (2016)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Giving Life to the Death PenaltyPolitical and Legal Anthropology Review (2016) (review essay)
SSRN | SMU Repository

The Conscience and Culture of Prosecution: An Introduction, 25 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 4 (2012)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Ethical Guidance for a Grander Jury, 24 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 761 (2011)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Book Chapters

Dismissing the Jury: Mixed Courts and Lay Participation in Norway, in JURIES, LAY JUDGES, AND MIXED COURTS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (Cambridge University Press 2021)

Storied Justice: The Narrative Strategies of US Federal Prosecutors, in THE EMERALD HANDBOOK OF NARRATIVE CRIMINOLOGY (Emerald Publishing Limited 2019)

Trial Processesin INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ANTHROPOLOGY (Wiley 2018)

Other Publications

Review: Steven Brill on the History of Arbitration Clauses, 3 Jury Matters 6 (2018)

Injustice Behind Closed Doors: Civil Juries and the #MeToo Movement, 3 Jury Matters 3 (2018)

The Long Shadow of the Civil Jury Trial, 3 Jury Matters 2 (2018)

The Humanities and Public Life by Peter Brooks, Hilary Jewett, 48 Law & Society Review 991 (2014) (book review)

Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 2012 (contributing law clerk)

Media

ABC 8quoted in Can Aaron Dean get a fair trial in Tarrant County? Experts say yes, but a conviction would be rare (June 2022)

ABA Journal, Interview, Judges differ on when it's safe to hold in-person jury trials (February 2021)

Inside Sources, Op-Ed, Technology can’t replace in-person jury trials, but it may help during a pandemic (June 2022)

The Hill, Op-Ed, It's time to build a pandemic-proof, juror-friendly trial (May 2020)

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Op-Ed, Guyger trial demonstrates power of juries. Here’s how we can make them even stronger (October 2019)

The New York Times, Letter to the Editor: The Jury's Duty When the Law Is Unfair (December 2011)