Michele Bratcher Goodwin

Chancellor’s Professor of Law
Michele Bratcher Goodwin


Bioethics, constitutional law, family law, human rights, medical law, reproductive rights, torts


Michele Bratcher Goodwin is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy. Goodwin is one of the nation’s leading experts on health law, regulation and policy. Her scholarship focuses on ethics, markets, access and privacy. Goodwin is also faculty in the Stem Cell Research Center; Gender and Sexuality Studies Department; Program in Public Health; and the Department of Criminology, Law, & Society.

Goodwin’s scholarship is hailed as “exceptional” in the New England Journal of Medicine. She has been featured in Politico, Salon.com, Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, NPR, HBO’s Vice News, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Trained in sociology and anthropology, she has conducted field research in Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. A prolific author, her scholarship is published or forthcoming in The Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Cornell Law Review, NYU Law Review, California Law Review, The Georgetown Law Journal, and Northwestern Law Review, among others. Goodwin’s publications include five books and over 80 articles, essays and book chapters as well as numerous commentaries. She is credited with forging new ways of thinking in organ transplant policy and assisted reproductive technologies. Civil rights and civil liberties groups praise her scholarship, policy briefings, and amicus briefs on reproductive rights as visionary and at the vanguard.

At the forefront of national and international health policy discourse, Goodwin was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Issues in Organ Donor Intervention Research. She was appointed an observer by the United States National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (for the revision of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act). She has advised or given testimony before state and federal policymakers. She chaired several sections of the Association of American Law Schools, served as a trustee of the United States Law and Society Association, and was elected secretary general of the International Academy of Law & Mental Health as the first woman and youngest person to ever hold that position.

Goodwin has long recognized the transformative power and value of education and access. Following earning her juris doctorate, she moved south and guided one of the largest southern school districts in the United States through desegregation, equity and inclusion efforts across 52 K-12 schools and more than 35,000 students.

A nationally recognized advocate for civil liberties and civil rights, Goodwin serves on the executive committee and national board of the American Civil Liberties Union and is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She is also a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and chairs the board of Progressive Health Partnership, which provides maternal and child healthcare services in Uganda. Goodwin has won national awards for excellence in scholarship, outstanding teaching and committed community service. Gov. Paul Patton of Kentucky commissioned her as a colonel, the state’s highest title of honor. In 2018 she was bestowed the Sandra Day O’Connor Legacy Award by the Women’s Journey Foundation. That same year, Goodwin was named teacher of the year by the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association. She is a highly sought after voice on civil liberties, civil rights, reproductive rights and justice, and cultural politics. Prior to teaching law, she was a Gilder-Lehrman Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.

Previously, she was the Everett Fraser Professor at the University of Minnesota and a visiting professor at the University of Chicago.

Prior Courses:

Biotechnology and The Law, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Torts, Genetic Property and the Law, Health Law, Health Regulations, Torts, Education Law, Mental Health Law, Women & The Rule of Law, Reproductive Justice Clinic, Advanced Reproductive Justice Clinic

Prof. Goodwin’s Scholarly Papers on SSRN

Keynote and Endowed Lecture Honors

  • Capitol Day, Keynote Speaker, Planned Parenthood of California (May 2017)
  • Suzanne Renee Leider Lecture, Respondent, University of California, Irvine (May 2017)
  • Diane and Adam E. Max Colloquia, Closing Panel, New York Historical Society (March 2017)
  • Plenary Speaker, Planned Parenthood 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting (June 2016)
  • Lawrence Lader Lecture, Harvard University (May 2016)
  • Macaulay Honors College Lecture, City University of New York (May 2016)
  • Shallenberger Lecture, Johns Hopkins University (April 2016)
  • 2015 Annual Lecture in Health Policy and Law, Northeastern University (October 2015)
  • Minnesota Academy of Medicine Annual Lecture (May 2015)
  • 2015 Robert H. Levi Leadership and Carey Symposium in Markets and Ethics (May 2015)
  • Chancellor’s Chair Lecture, University of California, Irvine School of Law (April 2015)
  • Distinguished Lecture, St. Thomas University School of Law (February 2015)
  • 2014 Howard A. Schneiderman Bioethics Lecture, University of California, Irvine (2014)

Academic Honors and Grants

  • American Bar Foundation Fellow (2017-)
  • Black Leadership Advancement Coalition, Leadership Award (2017)
  • National Academy of Science, Committee on Issues in Organ Donor Research (2016-)
  • American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Board Member (2016-2019)
  • 2016 Outstanding Faculty Award, Law Students For Reproductive Justice (2016)
  • Chief Executive Roundtable, University of California, Irvine (2015)
  • Trustee, Law & Society Association (2013-2015)

Civic Honors, Awards, & Memberships

  • American Law Institute (elected 2016)
  • Plenary Speaker, Women Deliver, 4th Global Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark (2016)
  • Plenary Speaker, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (July, 2015)