Law School’s Ayesha Bell Hardaway appointed Social Justice Law Center director

Ayesha Bell Hardaway, named new director of the Social Justice Law Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, said she plans to further the school’s long and storied history of advocating for social justice.

Those efforts have included improving Cuyahoga County’s bail/bond system, involvement in municipal police reform, assisting and researching international war-crimes prosecution, work on Innocence Project cases and addressing human trafficking and legal issues regarding the lead crisis in Cleveland.  

Ayesha Bell Hardaway
Ayesha Bell Hardaway, assistant professor and the new director of the Social Justice Law Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

“I am honored by the opportunity to deepen our institutional commitment and understanding of social justice and its place in the law,” said Bell Hardaway, an assistant professor of law and 2004 graduate of the law school. “The ability of the institution to meet the needs of all of our students while working to address inequities in our legal system is of paramount importance to me as a faculty member.”

Hardaway joined the law faculty in 2012 after working as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the county and litigator in the trial department at Tucker Ellis LLP. She has published on issues of racial inequality and social reform, and has taught health law, civil litigation and criminal justice. In 2015, she was appointed to serve on the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team to evaluate police reforms to be implemented by the Cleveland Police Department under a federal consent decree.

Law school Co-Deans Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf jointly announced Hardaway’s appointment.

“Professor Hardaway is an extraordinary colleague who will be an outstanding director,” Berg said.

“As director, Professor Hardaway will guide the center as the hub of the law school’s social- justice work,” Scharf said. “At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, social justice is a unifying theme that our institution aims to incorporate throughout the curriculum.”

In recent years, Case Western Reserve has ranked among the best law schools for public interest law by PreLaw Magazine.

To highlight the importance of the specialty, the Social Justice Law Center will host two newly endowed lecture series: the Dr. Maya Angelou and Professor Calvin Sharpe Interdisciplinary Lecture, slated to take place April 4, and the C.B. King Lecture, scheduled for 2020.

With funding from the Fox Family Foundation, the center will provide stipends for summer and semester-long public-interest law internships and externships to help prepare students for careers in social justice.

The center will also provide three-year Stephanie Tubbs Jones Public Interest Law Scholarships—named for the notable alum, former prosecutor, judge and member of U.S. Congress—to about a dozen students in each entering class that express an interest in pursuing a career in public interest law.