Lisa T. Alexander

Professor of Law

Lisa-Alexander

“Until the recent U.S housing crisis, many people underestimated the importance of housing markets for the U.S economy. Law is a central force in creating both efficiency and justice, and it can be used to make housing markets both more efficient and more equitable.”

Get to Know Lisa T. Alexander

What drew you to the law?

My godfather was the only lawyer I knew growing up. He was president of the Legal Aid Society of New York. His example, as well as the transformative role of law in the civil rights movement, drew me to law as an occupation that provides the power and influence necessary to improve lives of the least fortunate. As a law student and lawyer, I discovered that transactional law, rather than litigation, can also be used for the same ends.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy turning on a light bulb in students’ heads. I enjoy helping students see interdisciplinary connections between the law and other areas, as well as identify their passions for areas of the law that they never thought would interest them. I also enjoy helping students grow professionally and gain the confidence necessary to be successful in whatever area they ultimately pursue.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

I hope to train not just competent legal technicians, but thoughtful and ethical lawyers who are prepared to confront the myriad legal and interdisciplinary challenges that the future may bring. I hope students learn, not only the legal rules, but whether those rules are in fact advancing the goals the rules were designed to advance, and if not, what the new rules should be.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

Before law school, I worked on Wall Street, received a post-graduate Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, and served as a fundraiser for public interest legal non-profits. After law school, I received offers from the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP, and the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing Section. I ultimately pursued an Equal Justice Works Law Fellowship in Chicago, and then I worked in private practice in Chicago doing primarily housing and community development law, entrepreneurship law and commercial real estate deals.

What are you passionate about outside the law?

I wish there were more time outside of work. But when I get the chance, I love to take dance classes at the gym, sing, go out to dinner and do anything with my daughter and husband. I am also glad that I met my goal of becoming a certified Zumba instructor.

What are your research interests?

At my most ambitious moments, I strive to become a public intellectual. I hope that my research in housing law, community development law and social entrepreneurship law will make a difference for people in their daily lives. I hope to identify how law can help communities develop in a more sustainable and equitable way, rather than in a manner that exacerbates existing inequalities.

Publications

Link to my publications.

Presentations

A complete list ​​of presentations is available on my CV.

Recent ​presentations:

  • Presenter and panelist, “Bringing Home the Right to Housing,” Property Works-in-Progress Workshop, sponsored by Boston University School of Law and Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, Mass. (September 2016)

  • Discussant, “Has Fair Housing Gotten It’s Grove Back?” Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Annual Meeting, Amelia Island, Fla. (August 2016)

  • “Bringing Home the Right to Housing, Property, Identity and Sharing (Part I)” panel, Seventh Annual Meeting of the Association of Law, Property and Society, sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland (May 2016)

  • Keynote speaker, “Bringing Home the Right to Housing: A Talk by Lisa Alexander,” Creighton University School of Law’s 2040 Initiative, sponsored by The Creighton University 2040 Initiative, Omaha, Neb. (March 2016)

  • “Bringing Home the Right to Housing,” Housing for Vulnerable Populations and the Middle Class: Revisiting Housing Rights and Policies in a Time of Expanding Crisis, University of San Francisco Law Review 2016 Symposium, sponsored by the University of San Francisco Law Review and the University of San Francisco’s Center for Law and Ethics, San Francisco, Calif. (January 2016)

  • Invited panel presenter, “Environment, Development and Community: The Case of Pilsen,” Kreisman Housing Breakfast Series, sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Chicago, Ill. (October 2015).

  • “Occupying the Constitutional Right to Housing,” Occupations as a Means of Enforcing, Creating and Asserting Law Panel, Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy June 2015 Conference; presenters included scholars from Harvard Law School, MIT, Fordham Law School and the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing; Cambridge, Mass. (June 2015)

  • “The Corporate Law of Social Purpose,” Corporations and their Constituencies: Employees, Customers, Creditors, and the Public Panel, Law and Society Association 2015 Annual Meeting: Law’s Promise and Pathos in the Global North and Global South, Seattle, Wash. (May 2015)

  • “Gentrification and the Regulation of Urban Artistic Expression,” Fordham Urban Law Journal’s 2015 Symposium: Law, Urban Space, and the Future of Urban Artistic Expression, sponsored by the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Fordham Urban Law Center, the Urban Studies Program at Fordham University, and the Fordham Art Law Society, New York, N.Y. (February 2015)

  • “Occupying the Constitutional Right to Housing,” Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School and the Institute for Legal Studies, and co-sponsored by Thurgood Marshall Law School, St. Thomas University School of Law, and the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at the Seattle University School of Law, Madison, Wis. (June 2014)

  • Panel Presenter, “Suburbs in Flux: Federal Housing Choice Voucher Policies and Urban Gentrification,” AALS Joint Program--Suburbs in Flux: Perspectives from Property and Real Estate Law, sponsored by AALS Property Law and Real Estate Transactions Section, AALS Annual Meeting 2014, New York, N.Y. (January 2014)

  • “Occupy the Right to Housing,” Poverty Law: Cases, Teaching and Scholarship, sponsored by American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., (October 2013) 

  • “Law, Culture and Social Movements 2.0,” Fourth Annual Meeting of the Association of Law, Property and Society, sponsored by the University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minn. (April 2013)

  • “Cyberfinancing for Economic Justice,American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, invited by Hari Osofsky, President, Association for Law Property and Society, Los Angeles, Calif. (April 2013)

  • Moderator, “Public/Private Partnerships in Redevelopment” panel, 2012 Wisconsin Real Estate and Economic Outlook Conference: Building a Housing Policy That Works, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Business School’s Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Bankers Association and the Wisconsin Realtors Association (June 2012). 

  • “Law, Culture and Social Movements 2.0,” ClassCrits V Workshop: From Madison to Zuccotti Park: Confronting Class and Reclaiming the American Dream, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School, the Institute for Legal Studies, UC Davis School of Law and Southwestern Law School (November 2012).

  • “Law, Culture and Social Movements 2.0,” Midwest Law & Society Retreat, sponsored by The Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School (September 2012).

  • “Hip-Hop and Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power and Law,” Junior Faculty Exchange, sponsored by Maurer School of Law at Indiana University-Bloomington (April 2012).

  • “Hip-Hop and Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power and Law,” Third Annual Meeting of the Association of Law, Property and Society, sponsored by Georgetown Law School and Syracuse University College of Law, Washington D.C. (March 2012)

  • “Cultural Collective Efficacy, Social Capital and Place-Based Lawmaking: Revisiting the People Versus Place Debate,” Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, NYU Law School, New York, N.Y. (July 2011)

Expertise

  • Housing and urban community development law
  • Business law and social entrepreneurship law
  • Local government law
  • Property law

Courses

  • Housing and Community Economic Development Law
  • Business Associations I
  • Local Government Law

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (Fall 2016-Present)
  • Professor
    Texas A&M University, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, joint appointment (Fall 2016-Present)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    University of Wisconsin law School (2013-Present)
  • Assistant Professor of Law
    University of Wisconsin Law School (2006-2013)

Education

  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law (1999-2002)
  • B.A. in Government, with honors in Political Theory, Wesleyan University (1990-1994)

Awards / Honors

Technology Award:
  • Wisconsin Adaptation Technology-Enhanced Collaborative Group Work Award (2008): Grant provides money and technical assistance to use advanced technology in course work to enhance students’ group problem-solving, collaborative writing, and group presentation skills.
Research Grants:
  • Wisconsin Faculty Development Seminar on Global Pop: Music, Race, Capital and History, UW Center for the Humanities
  • Wisconsin Graduate School (2008, 2010, 2011, 2014)
  • Wisconsin Law School (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Fellowships:
  • Equal Justice Works Fellow (2002-2004)
  • Emerging Leader National Congress for Community Economic Development (2000)
  • Coro Fellow in Public Affairs (1995-1996)

Other Professional Activities

  • Co-Director, Texas A&M University School of Law’s Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law (Fall 2016-Present)
  • Board Member, Association for Law, Property and Society (ALPS) (May 2016 to Present)
  • Program Committee Member, Association for Law, Property and Society (ALPS) (2015, 2012-2013)
  • Selected and Appointed by the Commissioners to the Wisconsin State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (2013-2015)
  • Co-Organizer and Steering Committee Participant, Wisconsin Law Review Symposium 2009, “The Transatlantic Conference on New Governance and the Transformation of Law”
  • Associate Editor, ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (Fall 2005-Spring 2007)
  • Affiliate, Center for Housing and Urban Development, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University (June 2016-Present)
  • Affiliate, UW Institute for Research on Poverty (2013-Present)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development
  • Member, American Bar Association, State and Local Government Section
  • Member, Law and Society Association
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association
  • Member, J.L. Turner Bar Association