Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic
Penny Venetis
Newark Campus
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Penny M. Venetis ,the Director of the International Human Rights clinic, specializes in civil rights and international human rights impact litigation. She’s represented political asylum seekers and immigrants detained after 9/11. She clerked for Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise, U.S. District Court in New Jersey, and practiced law at O’Melveny & Myers, working on complex commercial litigation and human rights projects. 

  • Biography
  • Publications

Penny Venetis has been teaching at Rutgers Law School since 1993, where she is a Clinical Professor of Law and Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise Scholar.  At Rutgers, she is the Director of the International Human Rights Clinic and the Co-Director of the Constitutional Rights Clinic.  Penny has litigated cutting edge civil rights and human rights cases for over two decades.   Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of human rights law and constitutional law, and enforcing human rights in the United States. 

Over the past two decades, Penny has educated hundreds of students. Some of those students have become leading human rights attorneys.  Others are partners in prominent law firms who spend a considerable amount of time each year working on pro bono matters.

Professor Venetis was on sabbatical from 2015-2017 and served as the Executive Vice President and Legal Director of Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, the oldest women’s rights legal advocacy organization in the U.S.  She led Legal Momentum’s advocacy efforts to protect the rights of women and girls in areas such as: human trafficking, violence against women, campus sexual assault, employment equity, economic security, sports, and equal access to justice.

Immediately after law school, Penny clerked for Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. She also practiced law with the firm O’Melveny & Myers.  She also worked for the UN Special Rapporteur Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, investigating systematic rape and genocide. 

Penny has litigated in courts throughout the world.  She has been quoted extensively by the media and has testified before legislative bodies on issues related to gender equality, civil rights, and human rights.



“Enforcing Human Rights in the United States: Which Tribunals Are Best Suited to Adjudicate Treaty-Based Human Rights Claims?” 23 Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, 121 (2014)

“Making Human Rights Treaty Law Actionable in the United States: the Case for Universal Implementing Legislation,” 63 Alabama Law Review 97, 2011

“The Unconstitutionality of Oklahoma’s SQ 755 and Other Provisions Like It, which Bar State Courts from Considering International Law,” 59 Cleveland State Law Review 189, 2011