Hannah Brenner joined the Michigan State University College of Law in 2009. She is a Lecturer in Law and Co-Director, with Professor Renee Knake of the Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics and the Legal Profession. She is also a core faculty member and serves on the advisory committee of the Center for Gender in the Global Context at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching interests primarily surround issues of gender, leadership and the legal profession, and violence against women.
Her interest in violence against women began in the mid-1990s, when she volunteered as an advocate for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) in Iowa City, IA. During the seven years in which she served in this capacity, she also broadened her experience by working for a local domestic violence shelter. After graduating from law school, Professor Brenner joined the RVAP staff as Director of Rural Services, focusing on education, advocacy and support for survivors of sexual violence. Professor Brenner's grassroots background in the violence against women movement informs her legal and academic approach to these issues. Early in her career, she was engaged in efforts to incorporate domestic violence education into the law school curriculum, working within the framework proposed by the American Bar Association. Professor Brenner has engaged in public policy work on bullying and sexual harassment among youth, securing significant state and private funding to craft systemic solutions to address these issues.
Professor Brenner currently teaches a seminar on domestic violence law at the MSU College of law each spring. She has co-authored several articles on mandatory arrest policies and domestic violence, and her new work, Transcending the Criminal Law's One Size Fits All Response to Domestic Violence, investigating legislative and policy innovations that move beyond the traditional criminal law response, is forthcoming in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law.
Prior to moving to Michigan, Professor Brenner served as the first executive director of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Under her leadership, the Center hosted the inaugural Women's Power Summit on Law & Leadership, an event that brought together leaders from all sectors of the legal profession with the goal of developing a blueprint for the continued advancement of women the legal profession. She previously taught at the University of Oklahoma, where she also directed a statewide women's political leadership program designed to address the historic under-representation of women in politics and public service.