Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Isabelle R. Gunning

Isabelle R. Gunning

Professor of Law

B.A., Economics, 1977, and J.D., 1980, Yale University; Member, California State and District of Columbia Bars

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6843
Office: BW431

Isabelle Gunning was motivated to study law during the civil rights movement of the 1970s when she saw that "some very positive things could be accomplished through the courts." Following a clerkship with Chief Judge William Bryant of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, she served as a staff attorney with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., and later with the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Professor Gunning taught for six years as a member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law before her appointment to Southwestern in 1992. She says, "I want my students to see that there are certain assumptions in the law that we are all impacted the same way under similar circumstances - and that is not always the case."

"I want my students to see that there are certain assumptions in the law that we are all impacted the same way under similar circumstances - and that is not always the case."

Active in the larger realm of legal education, Professor Gunning served on the Board of the Clinical Legal Educators Association and was one of three editor-in-chiefs of the Clinical Law Review. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Gay & Lesbian Issues, as co-chair of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education Scholarship Committee and as a member of the American Bar Association's Skills Training Committee. Under the auspices of the ABA's African Law Initiative and other entities, she has traveled to Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania to speak on clinical legal education and trial advocacy.

Professor Gunning serves as a pro bono mediator through the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Services Project, and Gay and Lesbian Mediation Project, as well as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Martin Luther King Jr. Dispute Resolution Center. She has also co-chaired the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center. Professor Gunning was president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California from 2005 to 2009 and is currently a member of the National ACLU board as the Southern California Affiliate representative.


Books and Chapters

LAWYERS AND CLIENTS: CRITICAL ISSUES IN INTERVIEWING AND COUNSELING (with S. Ellmann, R. Dinerstein, K. Kruse and A. Shelleck; West 2009)

Female Genital Surgeries: Eradication Measures at the Western Local Level—A Cautionary Tale in GENITAL CUTTING AND TRANSNATIONAL SISTERHOOD (S. James and C. Robertson, eds.; University of Illinois Press, 1st ed., 2002; 2nd ed. 2005)

Global Feminism at the Local Level: The Criminalization of Female Genital Surgeries in CROSSROADS, DIRECTIONS, AND A NEW CRITICAL RACE THEORY (Temple University Press, 2002)

My Personal History with the Day Laborers' Corner in Ladera Heights, JORNALEROS AL DIA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights-Los Angeles, January 1997)

Stories from Home: Tales form the Intersection of Race,Gender and Sexual Orientation (originally in 5 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REVIEW OF LAW AND WOMEN'S STUDIES 143 (1995)), reprinted in CRITICAL RACE FEMINISM: A READER (New York University Press, 1997)

Arrogant Perception, WorldTraveling, and Multicultural Feminism: The Case of Female Genital Surgeries (originally in 23 COLUMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW 189 (1992)), reprinted in GENDER AND LAW: THEORY, DOCTRINE, COMMENTARY, 2nd ed. (Aspen Publishing, Fall 1997), and in CRITICAL RACE FEMINISM: A READER (New York University Press, 1997)


Legal Interviewing and Counseling: An Introduction, 10 CLINICAL LAW REVIEW 281 (with R. Dinerstein, S. Ellmann and A. Shalleck; Fall 2003)

An Essay on Teaching Race Issues in the Required Evidence Course: More Lessons from the O.J. Simpson Case, 28 SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 355 (1999)

Cleaning Our Own House:'Exotic' and Familiar Human Rights Violations, 4 BUFFALO HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW 123 (with H. Lewis; 1998)

Two Forms of Justice-Iverson Case: Nevada and California Authorities Ought to Reexamine David Cash's Actions, LOS ANGELES TIMES B5 (September 1998)

Uneasy Alliances and Solid Sisterhood, 47 CASE WESTERN LAW REVIEW 445 (1997)

Human Rights There and Human Rights Here, MASSACHUSETTS WOMEN'S BAR QUARTERLY (1996-97)

Diversity Issues in Mediation: Controlling the Impact of Negative Cultural Myths, 1995 JOURNAL OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION 55 (1995)

Female Genital Surgeries and Multicultural Feminism: The Ties the Bind; the Differences that Distance, THIRD WORLD LEGAL STUDIES 1994-95, WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND TRADITIONAL LAW: A CONFLICT 17 (1995)

Mediation as an Alternative to Court for Lesbian and Gay Families: Some Thoughts on Douglas McIntyre's Article, 13 MEDIATION QUARTERLY 47 (1995)

Why Not a Clinical Lawyer-Journal, 1 CLINICAL LAW REVIEW 1 (with S. Ellman and R. Hertz; Spring 1994)

Modernizing Customary International Law: The Challenge of Human Rights, 31 VIRGINIA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 211 (1991)

Expanding the International Definition of Refugee: A Multicultural View, 13 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL 35 (1989-90)

South African Economics, LOS ANGELES TIMES (September 1989)

Namibia, South Africa and the Walvis Bay Dispute, 89 YALE LAW JOURNAL 903 (with G. Goeckner; 1980)



Selected Achievements

Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee, Section on Clinical Legal Education, Association of American Law Schools, 1998-99

Member, Board of Directors, African Resource Center, since 1998

Invited participant, statewide coordination meeting regarding the recently enacted anti-female genital surgery Assembly Bill 2125, State of California Department of Health Services, Office of Women's Health, April 1997

Member, Executive Committee, Section on Gay & Lesbian Legal Issues, Association of American Law Schools, since 1997