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Kristin Henning is the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law, where she and her law students represent youth accused of delinquency in Washington, DC. Kris was previously the Lead Attorney for the Juvenile Unit of the D.C. Public Defender Service and is currently the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center. She has been representing children accused of crime for more than 25 years.


Kris trains state actors across the country on the impact of racial bias in the juvenile and criminal legal systems. Her workshops help stakeholders recognize their own biases and develop strategies to counter it. Kris also worked closely with the McArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network to develop a 41-volume Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP), a national training curriculum for juvenile defenders.

Kris with Georgetown silhouette.jpg

She now co-hosts, with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), an annual week-long JTIP summer academy for defenders. In 2019, Kris partnered with NJDC to launch a Racial Justice Toolkit for youth advocates, and again in 2020, to launch the Ambassadors for Racial Justice program, a year-long program for juvenile defenders committed to challenging racial injustice in the juvenile legal system through litigation and systemic reform.

Kris writes extensively about race, adolescence, and policing. Her new book, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth, is forthcoming with Pantheon Books (Penguin Random House) on September 28, 2021. Her previous work appears in journals and books such as Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment (2017, edited by Angela J. Davis) and Punishment in Popular Culture (2015, edited by Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. and Austin Sarat). Race features prominently in her articles such as The Reasonable Black Child: Race, Adolescence and the Fourth Amendment, 67 Am. U. L. Rev. 1513 (2018), Race, Paternalism and the Right to Counsel, 54 Amer. Crim. L. Rev. 649 (2017), and Criminalizing Normal Adolescent Behavior in Communities of Color: The Role of Prosecutors in Juvenile Justice Reform, 98 Cornell L. Rev. 383 (2013). Professor Henning is also an editor and co-author of an anthology Rights, Race, and Reform: Fifty Years of Child Advocacy in the Juvenile Justice System (2018).

Henning serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy and is the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center. She has served as an expert consultant on juvenile justice to a number of state and federal agencies, including the USDOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and was the Reporter for the ABA Task Force on Dual Jurisdiction Youth. She is also a lead contributor to the Juvenile Law and Practice chapter of the District of Columbia Bar Practice Manual and has served as an investigator in eight state assessments of the access to counsel and quality of representation for accused juveniles. 

Professor Henning is the recipient of many honors, including the 2021 Juvenile Leadership Prize, the Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense from NJDC, the Shanara Gilbert Award from the American Association of Law Schools for her commitment to justice on behalf of children, selection to the American Law Institute (ALI), and appointment as an Adviser to ALI’s Restatement on Children and the Law project. In 2005, Professor Henning was selected as a Fellow in the Emerging Leaders Program of the Duke University Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Professor Henning also traveled to Liberia in 2006 and 2007 to aid the country in juvenile justice reform. She received her B.A. from Duke University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an LL.M. from Georgetown Law.



University of Cape Town, South Africa, Graduate School of Business

Duke University, Terry Stanford School of Public Policy

Honors: Fellow of the Emerging Leaders Program, April 2006 – April 2007. 

Georgetown Law Center, LL.M. October 2002

Honors: E. Barrett Prettyman/Stuart Stiller Fellowship.

American Bar Association & United Nations Children’s Fund

Project-Africa, Mission to Assist in Juvenile Justice Reform, Monrovia, Liberia, July, 2006 and Feb, 2007.

Yale Law School, J.D. June, 1995

Honors:  Stephen J. Massey Prize, 1995 (Student Best Exemplifying Values of Yale Clinical Program).

Activities:  Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Editor. Yale Moot Court, Board of Directors.  Green Haven Prison Project, Director. 

Duke University, B.A. May, 1992  Majors: English, African-American Studies.

Honors: magna cum laude. Phi Beta Kappa. Benjamin N. Duke Leadership Award and Scholarship.


Coordinating Council of Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Juvenile Justice Leadership Award for Juvenile Justice Initiative, August 2017


DC Lawyers for Youth

Henning-Mlyniec Award for Youth Justice, November 2015


American Law Institute

Elected Member, October 2015


National Juvenile Defender Center

Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense, November 2013


National Juvenile Defender Center Juvenile Training Immersion Program

Certified Trainer, July 2013


American Association of Law Schools, Section of Clinical Legal Education

Shanara Gilbert Emerging Clinician Award, May 2008


Georgetown University Law Center                                                                                Washington, D.C.

Agnes Williams Research Professor of Law, Dir., Juvenile Justice Clinic                   January, 2016 – Present

Associate Dean for Clinic, Centers and Institutes                                                          July, 2017 – Present

Professor of Law, Director, Juvenile Justice Clinic                                                        June, 2015 – January, 2016

Professor of Law, Co-Director, Juvenile Justice Clinic                                                  July, 2008 – June, 2015

Associate Professor of Law, Deputy Director, Juvenile Justice Clinic                          July, 2004 – July, 2008

Visiting Associate Professor, Deputy Director, Juvenile Justice Clinic                         June, 2001 – June, 2004

Teach two-semester, fourteen-credit clinical course on juvenile delinquency.  Supervise third-year law students representing juveniles in D.C. Superior Court.  Responsible for administration of all clinics.  Supervise and train clinical teaching fellows.  Co-teach in clinic-wide fellowship seminar, Elements of Clinical Pedagogy.


Yale Law School                                                                                                                 New Haven, CT

Sidley-Austin Robert D. McLean Visiting Clinical Professor of Law                          Jan – June, 2012

Taught in Advocacy for Children and Youth and Innovations in Policing clinics.


New York University Law School                                                                                    New York, NY

Visiting Professor of Law                                                                                                 January – June, 2009

Taught Juvenile Defender Clinic and Civil Litigation course.  Consulted with students representing youth charged with delinquency in New York courts.


Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia                                                    Washington, D.C.

Lead Attorney, Juvenile Unit                                                                                          October, 1998 – May, 2001

Staff Attorney                                                                                                                   October, 1997- October, 1998

Represented indigent juveniles and adults in criminal and delinquency cases.  Supervised attorneys in Juvenile Unit and led-biweekly trial practice group.  Provided training to private attorneys, judges, and probation officers in the District of Columbia.  Assisted in successful grant writing for interdisciplinary Juvenile Unit.


Georgetown University Law Center                                                                               Washington, D.C.

Adjunct Professor of Law, Juvenile Justice Clinic                                                        August, 1999 – May, 2001

Taught substantive law and assisted in skills-based training in Juvenile Justice Clinic.


Prettyman/Stiller Teaching Fellow, Criminal/Juvenile Justice Clinics                       August, 1995 - July, 1997

Represented indigent juveniles and adults in criminal and delinquency cases. Supervised third-year law students and taught classes in juvenile justice clinic.

Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School                                New Haven, CT

Student Director, Advocacy for Parents and Children Clinic                                      August, 1994 - May, 1995

Founding member of clinic.  Planned class curriculum, represented minors in delinquency cases.  Represented minors and parents in abuse and neglect cases.

Student Director, Advocacy for People with Disabilities Clinic                                    January, 1993 - May, 1994

Represented social security applicants and minors seeking special education services. 

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia                                                    Washington, D.C.

Law Clerk                                                                                                                           July 11 - August 19, 1994

Wrote legal memoranda on various criminal defense issues.  Participated in survey of juvenile detention orders.


Crowell & Moring                                                                                                              Washington, D.C.

Summer Associate                                                                                                              May 23 - July 8, 1994

Wrote memoranda in government contracts, litigation, and pro bono project with Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.


North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.                                                                  Raleigh, N.C.

Law Clerk                                                                                                                            Summer, 1993

Planned juvenile justice conference, wrote successful grant proposal, and toured juvenile detention facilities.  Wrote memoranda and pleadings on prison conditions, jail overcrowding, and post-conviction issues.

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