The Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program

Faculty Directors

Deborah Archer portrait

Deborah N. Archer
Deborah N. Archer is a Professor of Clinical Law and Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law. Deborah is also the President of the American Civil Liberties Union and a leading expert in civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. She is an award-winning teacher and legal scholar whose articles have appeared in leading law reviews. Deborah has also offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, National Public Radio, CBS, Monocle, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.

Deborah is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was awarded the Charles G. Albom Prize, and Smith College. She previously worked as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation. Deborah is also a former chair of the American Association of Law School's Section on Civil Rights and the Section on Minority Groups. She previously served as Chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency.

Deborah has been honored by numerous community organizations and legal institutions, including Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, Boston University School of Law, New York University, Smith College, New York Law School, the American Association of Law Schools, and the Law and Society Association. In 2021, the Law and Society Association awarded her the John Hope Franklin Prize, Honorable Mention for her article "'White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes': Advancing Racial Equity Through Highway Reconstruction" which appeared in the Vanderbilt Law Review. Deborah also received a 2021 Podell Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2020-2021 Jacob K. Javits Professorship from New York University, the 2021 Stephen Ellmann Memorial Clinical Scholarship Award from the American Association of Law Schools, the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award from New York Law School, and the Haywood Burns/Shanara Guilbert Award from the Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference.

Helen Hershkoff

Helen Hershkoff
Helen Hershkoff joined the faculty in 1995 following an acclaimed career as a public interest lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and The Legal Aid Society, where she litigated cutting-edge cases involving institutional reform and individual rights. She also worked as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. At NYU, her scholarship and teaching focus on civil procedure and issues of economic justice, and she is a co-director of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program. She is a co-author of the leading casebook on civil procedure, a co-editor of an admired book on comparative civil procedure, and a member of the author team of the “Wright & Miller” treatise focusing on the United States as a party. Hershkoff also writes about state constitutions and the relation between private law and public law, and has been published in Harvard, Stanford, NYU, and other leading law reviews. Hershkoff is a highly respected teacher; she was honored with the NYU 2014–2015 Distinguished Teaching Award, was recognized by the Association of American Law Schools as a 2013 Teacher of the Year, and was a recipient of the Law School’s 2013 Podell Distinguished Teaching Award. Hershkoff earned her BA from Harvard College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year, holds an MA in modern history from Oxford University, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar, and a JD from Harvard Law School. 

Sylvia Law ’68

Sylvia A. Law '68
For more than four decades, Sylvia Law has been one of the nation’s leading scholars in the fields of health law, gender justice, poverty, and constitutional law. She has played a major role in dozens of civil rights cases before the US Supreme Court and in lower state and federal courts, and she has testified before Congress and state legislatures on a range of issues. In 1983, Law became the first lawyer in the United States selected as a MacArthur Fellow. She is the co-director of the Arthur Garfield Hays Program and chair of the Rose Sheinberg Lecture program at NYU School of Law. She has been active in the Society of American Law Teachers, served as its president from 1988 to 1990, and was honored by the organization with the 2001 Great Teacher Award. In 2004, Law was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.