Shirin Sinnar joined the Stanford Law faculty in 2012. Her scholarship focuses on the legal treatment of political violence, the procedural dimensions of civil rights litigation, and the role of institutions in protecting individual rights and democratic values in the national security context. Her recent work assesses legal responses to hate crimes and domestic and international terrorism under U.S. law. She has also written on the capacity of courts, Inspectors General, and civil rights offices to monitor and oversee national security conduct. Her articles have been published in the California Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and other journals. In 2017, she was the co-recipient of the inaugural Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship for her article, The Lost Story of Iqbal. Sinnar’s commentaries have also appeared in popular media including the Washington Post, USA Today, and Slate. In September 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Sinnar to a three-year term on the newly created California Commission on the State of Hate, a commission to assess data, support victims, and make policy recommendations related to hate crimes. In March 2021, she testified on anti-Asian hate violence before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.
Sinnar teaches courses in civil procedure, advanced civil procedure, terrorism, and the intersection of race and identity with national security. In 2016, Sinnar was selected by the graduating class as the recipient of the John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Prior to her faculty appointment, Sinnar taught Legal Research and Writing and Federal Litigation to first-year law students as a Thomas C. Grey Fellow. From 2004 through 2009, she represented individuals facing discrimination based on government national security policies and unlawful employment practices, first as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco and then as a staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. Sinnar previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School (J.D. 2003), Cambridge University (M. Phil. International Relations 1999), and Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges (summa cum laude, A.B. History 1998).