Distinguished Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar
David Troutt
Rutgers Law School
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

David Dante Troutt is the founding director of the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME) and teaches and writes about race, class and legal structure; intellectual property; torts and critical legal theory. He is an author of non-fiction and fiction books, scholarly articles and legal and political commentary and a sought-after public speaker.

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Courses Taught

David Dante Troutt is professor of law (Justice John J. Francis Scholar ) and the founding director of the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME). He teaches and writes in four areas of primary interest: the metropolitan dimensions of race, class and legal structure; intellectual property; Torts; and critical legal theory. His major publications (noted below) include books of fiction and non-fiction, scholarly articles and a variety of legal and political commentary on race, law and equality. A member of the faculty since 1995 after practicing corporate and public interest law in New York and California, Troutt founded CLiME in 2013 in order to provide a research resource for students and the public interested in the growing challenges of municipalities and families trying to sustain middle-class outcomes amid growing fiscal constraints and rapid demographic change.


Several themes characterize Troutt’s work. A key feature of his writing and teaching about the intersections of race, class and place concerns identifying blind spots in conventional analyses of spatially determined opportunity through structuralist and interdisciplinary analysis. This work involves inquiries about meanings of colorblindness, the role of inequity in persistent marginalization, and the utility of civil rights theories in addressing concentrated poverty. Troutt is conducting ongoing research on developing the principle of mutuality in public law. Key themes in Troutt’s writing about intellectual property include personhood and authorship in copyright and trademark. Key aspects of his work in critical theory include the uses of narrative methodology, cultural constructions of marginalization and the dynamic life of stereotypes.


Professor Troutt is a frequent public speaker and contributor to a variety of national periodicals, including Politico, Huffington Post, Reuters and The Crisis. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his juris doctor from Harvard Law School. An avid drummer, carpenter, photographer and ichtheologist, he lives with his wife and family in Montclair, NJ.


The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America (NYU Press, January 2014) (a national exploration of the legal and political assumptions that guide residential organization in metropolitan America, the fiscal stresses that result from localism and segregation and a mutuality-based argument for regional equity policies).


After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina (The New Press, August 2006), a collection of one dozen essays primarily by black legal scholars on a wide array of issues arising from the disaster, relief effort and reconstruction. Troutt’s essay, “Many Thousands Gone, Again,” is an analysis of legal and historical facts on the ground in New Orleans which demonstrate how the convergence of race, class and spatial disadvantages created a systematic vulnerability for many hurricane survivors reflective of persistent poverty in many U.S. cities. 

Courses Taught