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Angela Onwuachi-Willig

Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Professor of Law

Angela Onwuachi-Willig is the Charles and Marion Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. She joined the Iowa Law faculty in 2006 after three years on the tenure track at the University of California, Davis School of Law. She graduated from Grinnell College, Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in American Studies, and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a Clarence Darrow Scholar and a Note Editor on the Michigan Law Review and an Associate Editor of the founding issue of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.

After law school, she clerked for Judge Solomon Oliver, now Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, and Judge Karen Nelson Moore, U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. She also worked as a labor and employment associate at Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio and Foley Hoag in Boston, Massachusetts.She also served as the Scholar-in-Residence at the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

In 2006, Professor Onwuachi-Willig was honored by the Minority Groups Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) with the Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. In December of 2010, Professor Onwuachi-Willig was elected to the American Law Institute and she was selected as a finalist for the Iowa Supreme Court. In 2011, she was named one of America’s top young legal professionals by the National Law Journal, which placed her on its “Minority 40 under 40” list. In 2012, she won the Marion Huit Award, a University award given to a tenured faculty member in recognition of outstanding teaching and assistance to students, exceptional research and writing, and dedicated service to the University and the surrounding community.

Professor Onwuachi-Willig is a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Minority Groups Section and the AALS Law and Humanities Section, a past Chair of the AALS Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Minorities, and a former member of the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers. She currently serves as Chair-Elect of the AALS Employment Discrimination Section.

456 Boyd Law Building

Her articles have appeared in or are forthcoming in many prestigious law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, and Vanderbilt Law Review. Professor Onwuachi-Willig also has published numerous newspaper opinion-editorials. Her book According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family (Yale University Press) was published in the spring of 2013.

Speaking Engagements: 

Professor Onwuachi-Willig is frequently invited as a speaker for law faculty workshops, conferences, and symposia. For instance, she gave the Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law at the University of California, Davis School of Law and the inaugural Lutie A. Lytle Lecture at Seattle University School of Law


BA, Grinnell College, 1994

JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1997

Awards & Honors: 

Marion Huit Award (Spring 2012); National Law Journal Minority 40 Under 40 (2011); Fellow of American Bar Foundation; Iowa Supreme Court Finalist (January 2011); Elected to the American Law Institute (December 2010); AALS Derrick A. Bell Award (2006)


Law Does Not Exist in a Vacuum: Angela Onwuachi-Willig at TEDxDesMoines