Anna Lvovsky, scholar of American legal history and criminal procedure, appointed professor of law


Anna Lvovsky ’13 is promoted to professor of law at Harvard Law School, effective July 1. A specialist in criminal law and procedure, legal history and evidence, she joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2017.

“Anna Lvovsky is an extraordinary scholar whose work sheds a vivid light on the history of policing of the LGBTQ+ community as well as contemporary issues regarding the institutional dynamics between police and courts,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and professor of law at Harvard Law School. “Through the creativity and clarity she brings to her teaching and writing, Professor Lvovsky greatly enriches the learning experience of our students.”

Lvovsky, whose research focuses on the legal and cultural dimensions of policing, the regulation of gender and sexuality, and the judicial uses of professional knowledge, recently published “Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts and the Struggle Over Urban Gay Life Before Stonewall” (University of Chicago Press), which examines the legal and cultural battles surrounding policing gay communities in the United States. “Vice Patrol” was a finalist this year for the David J. Langum Sr. Award for American Legal History and is now a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Studies. As a dissertation, it received the 2016 Julien Mezey thesis prize from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and Human Sciences.

Lvovsky’s articles, focusing on both historical and contemporary policing practices, have explored the institutional and legal legacies of police reform, including the importance of police expertise in court. His work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Journal of Urban History.

A legal historian, Lvovsky earned a doctorate. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University in 2015. At the start of her graduate studies, she discovered police manuals in the library that revealed how the police identified and monitored what they considered to be a sexual “deviance” in the middle of the 20th century. His decision to write about law enforcement also influenced his decision to attend Harvard Law School.

“Harvard Law is where I first learned to love the study of law, and every semester my interactions with our wonderful students, staff, and faculty remind me why,” Lvovsky said. “I am thrilled to make this amazing community my academic home.”

At Harvard Law, Lvovsky teaches evidence and criminal law courses that challenge students to focus on cultural context and the downstream effects of seemingly neutral legal rules. She has given seminars and reading groups on the history of policing and intimate governance, and currently co-organizes the law school’s Legal History Workshop.

Lvovsky earned a BA in Literature and Intellectual History in 2007 from Yale University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was co-chair of articles for the Harvard Law Review. She was also the recipient of the LGBTQ Writing Award. After graduating from law school, Lvovsky clerked for Judge Michael Boudin ’64 of the 1st United States Circuit Court of Appeals and for Gerard Lynch of the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals. -United. Prior to joining Harvard Law, she was an Academic Fellow at Columbia Law School.

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