Lisa Davis is a Professor of Law; Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court; Founding Faculty Chair of the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace Initiative, and; Co-Director of the Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic (formerly named International Women’s Human Rights Clinic). Professor Davis has written and reported extensively on gender-based crimes and human rights issues in conflict and other crisis settings, including on women’s rights and LGBTQI+ rights. Davis has testified before U.S. Congress, European Parliament, U.K. Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and several international human rights treaty bodies. Serving as the first Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Professor Davis drafted the first-ever policy on the crime of gender persecution.
Professor Davis’ work has been covered by numerous media outlets, such as CNN and Buzzfeed, and cited widely, including by the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, the Supreme Court of India, and Human Rights Watch. In 2022, Lisa was a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at the University of Leiden School of Law in the Hague.
That same year, Lisa served on the accountability working group for the W7 of the G7 Process. The W7 (Women 7) Group is the official “engagement group” on women and LGBTQI+ issues for the G7 (Group of Seven) government discussion forum. In 2016, Davis was elected to deliver the civil society statement for the UN Security Council’s open debate on the use of sexual violence in conflict situations. Lisa is also a member of the JRR-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster.
In the case of Karen Atala and Daughters v. Chile, Professor Davis co-authored the only amicus curiae brief to argue that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under international law. Among others, the brief was also co-authored by attorneys at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, who focused on the custody issue at hand, arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity should not be factors in custody determinations. In 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a groundbreaking decision, providing for an explicit prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2010, Professor Davis served as lead counsel for the Inter-American Commission petition on behalf of displaced Haitian women and girls, which resulted in the Commission’s first-ever precautionary measures decision recognizing state responsibility to prevent third-party gender-based violence. Lisa was subsequently awarded the 2011 People’s Choice Gavel Award by their peers for the decision.
Professor Davis graduated from CUNY Law School and served as Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review. Davis joined the faculty in 2010 and serves as a faculty advisor to the CUNY Law Review. Davis also serves as the faculty representative for the CUNY LGBTQI+ Council, a CUNY-wide committee of faculty and staff dedicated to supporting the intersectional LGBTQI+ communities across the university system. Professor Davis was also a founding faculty advisor for the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice.