Sonja Starr joined the University of Chicago law faculty after eleven years teaching at the University of Michigan, where she was the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law. She previously taught at the University of Maryland and Harvard Law School after graduating from Yale Law. She also clerked for Judges Merrick Garland of the DC Circuit and Mohamed Shahabuddeen of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia.
Professor Starr's research focuses on the criminal justice system and on discrimination and disparity (in the criminal process and in other contexts, including employment, education, and health care). Her research blends quantitative empirical work with more traditional legal scholarship. Topics include the use of predictive algorithms in sentencing and bail, legal and empirical analyses of statistical discrimination, racialized medical algorithms, educational diversity and race-conscious policymaking, racial and other disparities in prosecution and sentencing, policies designed to expand employment opportunities for people with criminal records, and how neighborhoods affect employment discrimination patterns. Professor Starr’s work has appeared in, for example, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Yale Law Journal, and the Stanford and Harvard Law Reviews. She has been the Law and Economics Section Chair of the American Association of Law Schools, a past co-president of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies, and a board member of the American Law and Economics Association. She teaches Criminal Law, the Constitutional Law Workshop, Race and Criminal Justice Policy, and Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions.