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Ralph Richard Banks

Visiting Professor of Law

Winter 2025

Ralph Richard Banks is the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and a professor, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is the Founder and Faculty Director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, an initiative that aims to confront and counter the polarization that plagues American society through an analysis of contentious racial issues free from the orthodoxies of Left and Right.

Professor Banks is the co-author of two leading law school casebooks, Racial Justice and the Law: Cases and Materials (2016) (with co-editors Kim Forde-Mazrui, Guy Uriel Charles and Cristina Rodriguez) and Family Law in a Changing America (2nd ed. 2024) (with co-editors Douglas NeJaime, Joanna Grossman, and Suzanne Kim). He is also the author of the trade book Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline affects Everyone (2011; paperback 2012), described by the Los Angeles Times as a “must read,” by the New York Times as “important” and by the Wilson Quarterly (the official publication of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) as one of the Top Ten Books of 2011. The book has been featured by a wide range of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Essence magazine, The Village Voice, Time, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and also NPR (local and national) CNN, ABC News/Nightline, The View, and Fox News, among many others. His forthcoming book, The Miseducation of America: How College Can Make or Break the American Dream, will be published in 2025.

At Stanford, Professor Banks teaches Constitutional Law, Family Law and a variety of courses related to race, law and inequality. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1998 after clerking for federal judge Barrington D. Parker, serving as the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School and practicing law at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers. He graduated from Harvard Law School with honors and received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Stanford University.