The Yale Law Journal

Volume 133’s Emerging Scholar of the Year: Robyn Powell

Jordan Kei-Rahn
06 May 2024

The Yale Law Journal is thrilled to announce Volume 133’s Emerging Scholar of the Year: Robyn Powell.

 The Yale Law Journal’s Emerging Scholar of the Year Award celebrates the achievements of early-career academics who have made significant contributions to legal thought and scholarship. It seeks to promote scholarship that has the potential to drive improvements in the law and to spotlight the exceptional work of its honorees. The Emerging Scholar of the Year is selected by the Journal’s membership following an intensive, semester-long research and deliberation process.

Volume 133’s Emerging Scholar of the Year, Professor Powell, is an Associate Professor of Law at Oklahoma University College of Law, where she teaches in the areas of family law, disability law, professional responsibility, and public-health law.

 Professor Powell’s work focuses on the intersection of family law, disability law, reproductive justice, and public-health law and how laws and policies affect disabled people’s decision-making about whether and when to have children. Her forthcoming article in the Georgetown Law ReviewForced to Bear, Denied to Rear, examines the effects of the Dobbs decision on disabled people, including the impact of forced pregnancy and potential subsequent denial of parental rights. Her other forthcoming article entitled Under the Watchful Eye of All, which will appear in the California Law Review, provides a novel analysis of the extensive surveillance targeted at disabled parents and their children by the family policing system. In Care Reimagined, a forthcoming book review in the Michigan Law Review, Powell examines the complex issues surrounding care and their relevance to people with disabilities and proposes a normative vision for reimagining care. In 2023, Professor Powell published Including Disabled People in the Battle to Protect Abortion Rights in the UCLA Law Review, arguing that the attack on abortion rights has acute effects on people with disabilities and proposes a blueprint to protect abortion rights in a way that fully includes people with disabilities. Professor Powell has also written a 2022 article, Disability Reproductive Justice, in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, which looks at the broader scope of reproductive decision-making beyond abortion and proposes a vision to help support the coalescence of the disability-justice and reproductive-justice movements.

Professor Powell graduated with a B.S. in Social Work from Bridgewater State University, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and a Master of Arts in Social Policy and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Before joining OU Law, Powell was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Stetson University College of Law and an Instructor at Boston University School of Law. 

As a disabled woman, Professor Powell has dedicated her career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Prior to entering academia, she served as an Attorney-Advisor at the National Council on Disability, a Research Associate at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, Disability Rights Program Manager at the Equal Rights Center, Assistant Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Disability Policy Consortium, and Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services.

 The Journal is delighted to celebrate the achievements of Professor Powell. Please join us in congratulating her!