Aliza Kaplan

Professor of Lawyering and Director, Criminal Justice Reform Clinic




Professor Aliza B. Kaplan teaches Lawyering and is the Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) where students work on a variety of cases and projects relating to the back-end of criminal cases in the areas of parole, clemency, wrongful convictions, and juvenile justice. She serves as counsel to the Forensic Justice Project, helped create the Community Law Division at Metropolitan Public Defender, and co-founded the Oregon Innocence Project. She is also a documentary film producer — the 2007 film she co-produced, My Country, My Country, was nominated for an Academy Award, and her 2010 film, The Oath, was nominated for two news Emmy Awards.

Prior to teaching at Lewis & Clark, Kaplan was an Associate Professor of Legal Skills at Brooklyn Law School. She was also the Deputy Director of the national Innocence Project and co-founded the New England Innocence Project. She was an associate at Testa, Hurwitz and Thibeault in Boston and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Joseph E. Irenas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

In 2022, Professor Kaplan received the Hans Linde Award from the American Constitution Society (Oregon Lawyer Chapter), the President’s Award from the  Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and Juneteenth Freedom Award from Uhura Sasa at the Oregon State Penitentiary on behalf of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic. In 2021, Professor Kaplan received the  Oregon State Bar Award of Merit, the Bar’s highest honor. Professor Kaplan was also the 2015 recipient of the Law School’s Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching. She teaches, gives presentations on and researches/writes in the areas of criminal law and public interest lawyering.

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • BA 1991 The George Washington University
  • JD 1999 Northeastern University School of Law



  • An eye on reform: Examining decisions, procedures, and outcomes of the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision release process (Academic Study and Report) (with Dr. Christopher Campbell and Mieke de Vrind) (September 2022).
  • Perpetuating the Presumption of Guilt: The Role of Implicit Racial Bias in Forensic Testimony, 58 Vol. 3 Crim. Law Bull. 317 (2022) (with Janis Puracal).
  • The Governor’s Clemency Power: An Underused Tool to Mitigate the Impact of Measure 11 in Oregon, Lewis & Clark L. Rev. (Fall/Winter 2019) (with Venetia Mayhew).

  •  It’s Not a Match: Why the Law Can’t Let Go of Junk Science, 

    81 Albany L. Rev. 895 (2018) (with Janis Puracal).
  • Overturning Apodaca v. Oregon Should Be Easy: Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts in Criminal Cases Undermines the Credibility of the Justice System, 95 Or. L. Rev. 1 (2017) (with Amy Saack).
  • The Death Penalty is Getting More Expensive. Is it Worth It? THE CONVERSATION, March 30, 2017
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction to the 2016 Innocence Network Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 45 Hofstra L. Rev. (2017) (with Gwen Jordan, Valena Beety, and Keith Findley).
  • Who Could it Be Now? Challenging the Reliability of First Time In-Court Identifications After State v.  Henderson and State v. Lawson, 105 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 947 (with Janis Puracal) (2015).
  • Oregon’s Death Penalty: A Cost Analysis (Academic Study and Report) (with Dr. Peter Collins and Venetia Mayhew) (November 2016).
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction to the 2015 Innocence Network Conference, Orlando, Florida, 3 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 179 (with Valena Beety and Robert Schehr) (2015).
  • How to Build a Public Interest Lawyer (And Help All Law Students Along the Way), 15 Loy. J. Pub. Int. L.153  (2013).
  • Oregon’s Death Penalty: The Practical Reality, 17 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1 (Spring 2013).
  • Disabled and Disserved: The Right to Counsel for Mentally Disabled Aliens in Removal Proceedings, 26 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 523 (Spring 2012).
  • Think [and Practice] Like a Lawyer: Research Instruction for the New Millennials, 8 Leg. Comm. & Rhetoric 153 (Fall 2011) (with Kathleen Darvil). (Awarded 2012 Outstanding Article by the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (ALL-SIS) of the American Associations of Law Libraries (AALL)).
  • A New Approach to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Removal Proceedings, 62 Rutgers L. Rev. 345 (Winter 2010).