Professor Cheryl Nelson Butler teaches torts, employment discrimination, and critical race theory. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of race, gender and the law. She utilizes feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and legal history as tools to explore these issues. Professor Butler is a frequent speaker on the intersection of race and gender in Tort Law and Criminal Law and has presented her work at various law schools including Wisconsin, American University, Washington University, and Arizona State. Professor Butler’s articles have been published, or are forthcoming, in the Washington University Law Review, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Seton Hall Law Review, SMU Law Review, and the Akron Law Review. Professor Butler is a graduate of Harvard University, where she received a B.A. with Magna Cum Laude honors in American History and African-American Studies. Professor Butler received her J.D. degree from New York University School of Law where she was a Root Tilden Kern Scholar and a Fellow with the Center for International Legal Studies. She has received numerous awards for her work on equal justice issues.
Before joining SMU Dedman School of Law, Professor Butler worked as Executive Director & General Counsel of Top Teens of America, Inc., in Houston. Prior to that, she worked with many other non-profit and advocacy organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Legal Momentum, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. Her corporate experience includes working as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Professor Butler clerked on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and was also a Fellow with the Georgetown University Women's Law and Public Policy Program. She has taught at the University of Houston Law Center as an Assistant Clinical Professor.
Primary ArticlesA Critical Race Feminist Perspective on Prostitution & Sex Trafficking in America, ___Yale Journal of Law & Feminism
___ (forthcoming 2014)
Making the Grade? The United States' TIP Report Card on Child Sex Trafficking
, 66 SMU Law Review
___ (forthcoming, winter 2013-2014)
Kids for Sale,
45 Seton Hall Law Review
forthcoming , winter 2014)
Kids, Race, & Commercial Sex, in Children, Sex, and the Law (Ellen Marrus, ed., NYU Press, under contract for publication in 2012) (Book chapter analyzing the role of race and gender in the domestic sexual exploitation of minors in the United States)(Forthcoming, Winter 2013).
Blackness as Delinquency
, 90.5 Washington University Law Review
Sex Slavery in the Lone Star State: Does the Texas Human Trafficking Legislation of 2011 Protect Sexually Exploited Minors?
Featured on the CrimProf Blog, on August 16, 2012
Featured on the Legal History Blog, February 28, 2012
SSRN Top Ten Download List for Criminal Law eJournal, October 2012
SSRN Top Ten Download List for Criminology eJournal, October 2012
45 Akron Law Review
“Bridge Over Troubled Waters:” Safe Harbor Legislation for Sexually Exploited Minors
(Work in Progress).
Prostituted Kids: A Critical Race Feminist Critique
(Work in Progress).
Feminist Origins of the Juvenile Court
(Work in Progress).
Toward a Child-Centered Approach to Trafficking Jurisprudence
(Work in Progress)
Speeches/PresentationsPanelist, Prostituted Kids: A Critical Race Feminist Critique, Panel on “Youth (In)justice & the Perpetual Underclass: New Strategies for Social Change,” Law & Society Association Conference: Power, Privilege & The Pursuit of Justice: Legal Strategies in precarious Times (Boston, MA (May 30 – June 2, 2013))
Panel Organizer, Panelist, Prostituted Kids: A Critical Race Feminist Critique, Yale Critical Race Theory Conference, Yale Law School (New Haven, CT (February 8-9, 2013))
Panelist, Prostituted Kids: A Critical Race Feminist Critique, Panel on “Gender and Citizenship,” Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (MAPOC) 2013: President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: On the Doubts, Questions, and Problems of Full Citizenship, University of Pennsylvania School of Law (Philadelphia, PA (January 26, 2013))
Panelist, Kids For Sale, ClassCrits V Legal Scholarship Conference: “From Madison to Zuccotti Park: Confronting Class and Reclaiming the American Dream,” University of Wisconsin Law School (Madison, WI (November 16-17, 2012))
Panelist, Blackness as Delinquency, Annual Meeting of the American Society for Legal History (ASLH), Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis, MO, co-sponsored by Washington University School of Law and St. Louis University School of Law (St. Louis, MO (November 8-11, 2012))
Panelist, Panel Topic: “Trayvon Martin: Examining Race & Justice in America,” (Presentation with Professor of the Year 2012, Jeffrey Bellin), SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (April 19, 2012))
Presenter, Kids For Sale, 2012 Southeast / Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: Transformative Advocacy, Scholarship, and Praxis: Taking Our Pulse, Samford University Cumberland School of Law (Birmingham, AL (March 30, 2012))
Commentator: “You Got Brides!” Expanding Our Reach: Human Rights and Legal Issues of International Online Matchmaking, Presentation by Linh K. Dai, Ph.D. Candidate, Arizona State University at the 2012 Southeast / Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: Transformative Advocacy, Scholarship, and Praxis: Taking Our Pulse, Samford University Cumberland School of Law (Birmingham, AL (March 30, 2012))
Organizer, Panelist, Blackness as Delinquency, 15th Annual Conference of the Association for Study of Law, Society & Culture, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (Fort Worth, TX (March 15, 2012))
Panel Moderator, Panel Topic: “The ‘F-Bomb’: Women and Feminism,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (February 28, 2012))
Moderator, Panel Topic: “The Legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (February 21, 2012)) (moderated panel including federal judges and leading civil rights panelists).
Panelist, Presentation: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, Panel Topic: “Women & Democracy,” Inaugural Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program of the George W. Bush Institute, SMU Cox School of Business (Dallas, TX (February 11, 2011))
Panelist, Blackness As Delinquency, Panel Topic: “Spotlight on Civil Rights: How Racial and Religious Profiling Offends the Rule of Law,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (November 4, 2011))
Participant, Women’s Legal History Conference, Chicago-Kent School of Law, Institute for Law & Humanities, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Chicago, IL (October 1, 2011))
Panelist, “Black Women, Racial Identity, and the Juvenile Court Movement” (article later titled, Blackness as Delinquency), Conference, “Race and Criminal Justice in the West,” Gonzaga University School of Law (Spokan, WA (September 23-24, 2011)) (Proposal selected in response to nationwide call for panels)
Panelist, Bridge over Troubled Waters: Safe Harbor Legislation for Sexually Exploited Minors, ClassCrits IV: Legal Scholarship Conference, “Criminalizing Economic Inequality,” American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC (September 24, 2011))
Presenter, Black Women, Racial Identity and the Juvenile Court Movement, Conference, 2011 Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, “Freedom Writers,” Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, co-sponsored by University of Houston Law Center (Houston, TX June 16-19, 2011))
Presenter, Sex Slavery in the Lone Star State: The Texas Human Trafficking Legislation, Fifteenth Annual LatCrit (Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory) Conference: “The Color of the Economic Crisis: Exploring the Downturn from the Bottom Up,” University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Denver, CO (October 2010))
Panelist, Should the Courts Treat Under-aged Prostitutes as Criminals or Victims? Lunchtime Law: Girls in the Juvenile Justice System, University of Baltimore School of Law, Center for Applied Feminism, Fall Symposium (Baltimore, MD (October 2010))
Presenter, Sex Slavery in the Lone Star State: Does the Texas Human Trafficking Legislation of 2009 Protect Commercial Sexually Exploited Children? Second Annual Aspiring Law Professors National Conference, Arizona State University College of Law (Tempe, AZ (October 2010))
Presenter, The Use of Force Under Chapter VII, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter - The Gulf Crisis, New York University School of Law, Center for International Legal Studies (New York, NY (March 1994)) (Paper presented scholars and leaders including U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Gali, NYU School of Law)
Panelist, Introduction to the Rule of Law & the Legal Profession
Just the Beginning Foundation, Inc., Inaugural Texas Summer Legal Institute, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Houston, TX (June 20, 2011))
Selection Committee Panelist, Root Tilden Kern (RTK) Program Selection Weekend, New York University School of Law (New York, NY (April 2-4, 2011)) (Served on panel with federal judges, NYU Law Faculty, and practitioners to select recipients of three year full tuition merit scholarships).
Organizer, Panelist, Non-Profit Trademark, Tax, and Intellectual Property Issues, National Convention: Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Top Teens of America (Cleveland, OH (June 2009)) (Panel included U.S. Internal Revenue Service legal counsel).
Course Instructor, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) High School, Intersession Course, How to Write as a Law Reporter (Houston, TX (January 2008))
Invited Lecturer, How to Master the 1L Curriculum, Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) – A.B.A., “Attitude Is Essential” Seminar (Atlanta, GA (July 2004))