Kimberly J. Robinson

Fast Facts

  • Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law at the UVA School of Law
  • Senior fellow, Learning Policy Institute
  • Served in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Education
  • Expertise on educational equity, equal educational opportunity, civil rights, federal role in education

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Education
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights
  • Law and Justice
  • Race and Racism
  • Social Issues

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, a professor at both the School of Education and Human Development and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and a Miller Center faculty senior fellow. She is an expert who speaks throughout the United States about K-12 educational equity, equal opportunity, civil rights, and federalism.

In 2019, New York University Press published the edited volume titled A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy. Robinson brought together some of the nation’s leading law and education scholars to examine why the United States should consider recognizing a federal right to education, how the nation could recognize such a right, and what the right should guarantee. In 2015, Harvard Education Press published her co-edited book with Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School, The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity. Scholars analyzed the impact of the 1972 United States Supreme Court decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a right to education. Her scholarship has been published widely in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law & Policy Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Boston College Law Review.  

Robinson serves on the advisory boards for Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab National Education Resource Database on Schools and the Gates Foundation’s Intradistrict Resource Inequity Project. She is a member of the American Law Institute.

She is the 2016 Recipient of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law from the Education Law Association for Disrupting Education Federalism, which was published in the Washington University Law Review.

Before Robinson began her career as a professor, she practiced law in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Education and as an education litigation attorney with Hogan & Hartson law firm (now Hogan Lovells). She also served as a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Robinson graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and earned a BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a recipient of the University Achievement Award.

Kimberly J. Robinson News Feed

I am paying especially close attention to two issues. First, the burden of proof to establish that sex discrimination occurred is what determines the effectiveness of Title IX, particularly in instances of sexual harassment and assault. The proposed regulation generally requires a recipient to adopt a preponderance of the evidence standard, i.e., to prove that more likely than not discrimination occurred.
Kimberly J. Robinson Brookings Institution
"In the United States, education is not a federal right. Such a right is enshrined in all 50 state constitutions, but not in the U.S. Constitution. The nation should consider establishing such a right through the courts, Congress, or a constitutional amendment, says Kimberly Robinson, Miller Center Faculty Senior Fellow, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and editor of 'A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy.' America really has two educational systems, says Professor Robinson: one for upper- and middle-class students that works well, and one for low-income, rural, and many Black and Hispanic students that works much less well."
Kimberly J. Robinson the Christian Science Monitor
After the U.S. Senate voted Thursday afternoon to confirm judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kimberly Robinson, a University of Virginia law professor, tried to call her friend, but Jackson’s voice mailbox was full. Robinson, who met Jackson when they were students at Harvard Law School, instead texted congratulations. “I’m so happy for her,” said Robinson, speaking from Los Angeles. “She will really listen to the people and the voices in the cases and apply the law.”
Kimberly J. Robinson UVA Today
She didn’t shy from grunt work, said Kimberly Robinson, her law school roommate who also worked for the publication. It was a 40-hour-a-week job, on top of classwork. Late nights and weekends were common. “I definitely realized she was extraordinary in law school,” said Robinson, now a law professor at the University of Virginia.
Kimberly J. Robinson Richmond Times-Dispatch
For two surreal days this week, I sat next to the family of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during hearings on her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. One word captures my emotions this week both as a Black woman professional myself and longtime friend of Jackson’s: hope.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Fellow Harvard Law Review editor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, also now a professor at the University of Virginia law school, said Jackson’s election to an editing post was proof that she “had a brilliant legal mind, but she is also someone who is humble and easy to work with.”
Kimberly J. Robinson The Washington Post