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Beth A. Colgan

Phillip E. Areeda Visiting Professor of Law

Fall Term 2023 and Winter Term 2024

Beth A. Colgan
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Beth Colgan is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. She is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional and policy issues related to the use of economic sanctions (fines, fees and surcharges, restitution, and forfeitures) as punishment and particularly on the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. Her recent scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the California Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Iowa Law Review, New York Law Review Online, North Carolina Law Review, UCLA Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal Forum, among others. Her scholarship is routinely cited by state and federal courts and two of her articles have been selected as “must read” by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Professor Colgan earned her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. After law school, she worked as an associate for Perkins Coie LLP (2000-05), litigating a variety of matters in federal and state court and engaging in extensive pro bono work focusing primarily on access to competent indigent defense counsel and post-conviction representation of juveniles tried in adult criminal courts. From 2006-2011, Professor Colgan served as the Managing Attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services, representing juveniles and adults confined in prisons, jails, and mental health facilities in civil rights litigation, collateral appeals, and legislative advocacy. From 2011-2014, she was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Professor Colgan continues to serve as a consultant on issues related to the use of economic sanctions to local, state, and federal government lawmakers and agencies, think tanks, and civil rights and criminal justice advocates. She has also served as amici in the United States Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She has been recognized for her service, including as the recipient of the Washington State Bar Association Thomas Neville Pro Bono Award, the Northwestern University Children & Family Justice Center Alumni Award, and the Stanford Law School Pro Bono Distinction Award. Professor Colgan also received UCLA’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019) and the 2019 graduating class selected her as Professor of the Year.


  • J.D. Northwestern University School of Law, 2000
  • B.A. Political Science Stanford University, 1995