Risa Kaufman joined the Center in 2017 as Director of U.S. Human Rights. In this role, she leads the Center’s efforts to integrate international human rights norms and strategies to advance the full spectrum of reproductive rights in the United States, including equitable access to abortion, safe and respectful maternal health care, and assisted reproduction.
Risa is co-author of Human Rights Advocacy in the United States (with Martha F. Davis and Johanna Kalb), and a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches a seminar on U.S. human rights advocacy. She is a co-founder and board member of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center.
Prior to joining the Center, Risa was the executive director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, where she developed and advanced international human rights norms and strategies in the United States, provided overall management for the Institute’s activities and operations, and supervised students in the Human Rights Clinic. Previously, she engaged in public interest litigation, advocacy, and legal education focused on issues at the intersection of race, gender and poverty, working as counsel at the Community Service Society, as a Gibbons Fellow at the Gibbons Law Firm, and as a Skadden Fellow at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum). She was also an acting assistant professor of lawyering at NYU School of Law.
Risa holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow scholar. She clerked for Judge Ira DeMent in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, and holds a B.A. from Tulane University.