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Lara Schwartz Sr Professorial Lecturer Department of Government

SPA - Government
Kerwin Hall
Spring 2023 Office Hours listed on syllabus.
Additional Positions at AU
Director, Project on Civic Dialogue (formerly Project on Civil Discourse)
AB, English and American Literature, Brown University 1993

JD, Harvard Law School 1998

Languages Spoken
English and Legalese
Favorite Spot on Campus
Garden behind Kay
Favorite Place in Washington DC
In the shade
Lara Schwartz specializes is dialogue across differences, constitutional law, civil rights, politics, communications, and policy. Drawing on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and communications strategist in leading civil rights organizations, Lara encourages students to approach complex questions from multiple perspectives, listen generously to one another, and challenge themselves and support one another.

Prior to joining the SPA faculty, Lara served as Director of Strategic Engagement at the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy. Previously she served as Courts Matter director at Media Matters, Legal Director at the Human Rights Campaign, and Vice President of External Affairs at the American Association of People with Disabilities. Lara worked in litigation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom and Gilbert, Heintz, and Randolph. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Ronald Lee Gilman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Lara has appeared on national and local radio and television programs and written op-eds published in national papers and local papers of record. from June 2019-June 2020 she was a fellow at the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.

She is the co-author of "How to College: What to Know Before You Go (And When You're There)." (St. Martin’s Press, 2019). Her next book, Try to Love the Questions: From Debate to Dialogue in Classrooms and Life, will be released in early 2024.

Impersonation Alert: an anonymous harasser has been impersonating Professor Schwartz online since January 2023. To reach Professor Schwartz, please email the American University Department of Government at or call 202-885-6203.