Staff

Meet the Staff of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project

Learn more about our team and access information on how to contact our Faculty and Staff members directly.

The Law, Rights, and Religion Project is a small team, based at Columbia Law School, under the guidance of Faculty Director Katherine Franke. 

Click through the links below to learn more about our team members and their roles, and to access information on how to contact our team members individually.

For general contact information for the Law, Rights, and Religion Project, Access our Contact Us page, here.

Professor Katherine Franke

Faculty Director, The Law, Rights, and Religion Project

Office Location and Contact Details

Columbia Law School
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 626
435 West 116th Street
New York, New York, 10027

Phone: (212) 854-0061

E-mail: Katherine.Franke@law.columbia.edu

Twitter: @ProfKFranke

About

Katherine Franke is the Faculty Director of the Law, Rights and Religion Project. She is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University, where she also directs the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. She is a member of the Executive Committee for the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and the Center for Palestine Studies.  She is among the nation's leading scholars writing on law, rights, and religion, drawing from feminist, queer, and critical race theory.

Her book, Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition(Haymarket, 2019) makes the case for racial reparations today by telling the story of experiments in South Carolina and Mississippi in the 1860s where freed people were given land explicitly as reparation for enslavement and then had it taken away by the government. Her book, Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality, (NYU Press, 2015) considered the costs of winning marriage for same-sex couples today and for African-Americans at the end of the Civil War. Franke was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011 to undertake research for Wedlocked. In addition to her work at the Law School, she works regularly in Palestine, most recently serving as an academic mentor for the human rights faculty at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem. She also chairs the board of directors of the Center for Constitutional Rights, based in New York City.

Before coming to Columbia Law School, Franke was an associate professor at Fordham Law School and the University of Arizona College of Law. From 1990 to 1991, she was the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. Prior to that, she worked for the New York City Commission on Human Rights and founded the AIDS and Employment Project.

For further information on Professor Katherine Franke, her Faculty Profile page with Columbia Law School may be found at the following link: Professor Katherine Franke.

Elizabeth Reiner Platt

Director, The Law, Rights, and Religion Project

Office Location and Contact Details

Columbia Law School
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 625
435 West 116th Street
New York, New York, 10027

Phone: 212.854.8079

E-mail: ep2801@columbia.edu

About

Elizabeth Reiner Platt (Liz Platt) is the Director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia, she was a Staff Attorney at MFY Legal Services Mental Health Law Project. After graduating from New York University School of Law, she was a Carr Center for Reproductive Justice Fellow at A Better Balance. During law school, Liz worked with the Urban Justice Sex Workers Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Brennan Center for Justice. In 2013, she published Gangsters to Greyhounds: The Past, Present and Future of Offender Registration, 37 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 727 (2013).

Kira C. Shepherd

Director, The Racial Justice Program

Office Location and Contact Details

Columbia Law School
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 624
435 West 116th Street
New York, New York, 10027

Phone: 212.854.8079

E-mail: ks3377@columbia.edu

About

Kira Shepherd is the Director of the Racial Justice Program with the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia Law School, she was the Executive Director and Director of Campaigns at The Black Institute (TBI), an action think tank that leads advocacy work in the areas of immigration, education, the environment, and economic justice.  Prior to working at TBI, Kira was a Campaign Manager at ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online civil rights organization, where she worked on criminal justice and corporate accountability campaigns.  She also worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center where she managed a city-wide youth advocacy project that was instituted in every public high school in Philadelphia.  Kira has also worked for Families for Freedom, a human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation, and Make the Road New York, the largest member-led economic justice group in New York. Kira graduated from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark with a Juris Doctorate degree.