Professor Stephens has published a variety of articles on the relationship between international and domestic law, focusing on the enforcement of international human rights norms through domestic courts and the incorporation of international law into U.S. law . She co-authored a book analyzing U.S. enforcement of human rights norms, International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2d ed. 2008). She has also written on the international law norms governing corporations, including Making Remedies Work: Envisioning a Treaty-Based System of Effective Remedies, in Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours (Surya Deva and David Bilchitz, eds. 2017), and Are Corporations People? Corporate Personhood Under the Constitution and International Law, 44 Rutgers L.J. 1 (2014). Professor Stephens was an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States and served as a legal consultant to a network of human rights groups formulating proposals for a new treaty on business and human rights.
As a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Professor Stephens continues to litigate pro bono human rights cases, including cases filed against U.S.-based corporations alleging responsibility for human rights violations committed in the course of their activities abroad. She has worked for over ten years on Mamani v. Berzain, a lawsuit against the former president of Bolivia for the killing of civilians by troops under his command, and was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Samantar v. Yousuf, a human rights case decided by the Supreme Court in May 2010, in which the Court ruled 9-0 for her clients.
Professor Stephens graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, received her J.D. degree from Berkeley Law School, and clerked for Chief Justice Rose Bird of the California Supreme Court. From 1990-1995, she was in charge of the international human rights docket at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, where she litigated cases addressing human rights violations in countries around the world and received the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Trial Lawyers for Public Justice in recognition of that work. She spent six years studying the changing legal system in Nicaragua in the 1980s.