Alumni Ambassadors

Renee Knake Jefferson

Renee Knake-Jefferson headshot
Job title
Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics and Professor of Law
Academic year
January 2019 – June 2019
Law Democratized: A Blueprint for Justice

Renee is a legal and judicial ethics scholar and attorney with more than a decade of executive leadership experience in higher education, including oversight as trustee of R1 public research university. As an award-winning author of four books and numerous academic articles, her work is frequently cited in leading law reviews, Supreme Court briefs, and media including CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, New York Times, Politico, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Renee has been invited to testify before Congress about judicial recusal and before the federal judiciary about reform to rules on workplace misconduct. At the University of Houston, she teaches Constitutional Law, Professional Responsibility, and a writing seminar on Gender, Power, Law, and Leadership. Renee is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Renee held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2019. This experience transformed her professional and personal life, and the impact of her time in Australia endures today. Her research focused on how tools of entrepreneurship and innovation can increase access to justice. Renee spoke at institutions across the country about her work and maintains close relationships with many of the scholars and experts she met during her time in Australia. Her husband and teenage children joined her, enrolling in local schools and immersing themselves in Australian culture. Renee's book “Law Democratized: A Blueprint for Justice,” based on her Fulbright project, will be published in 2023 by New York University Press. The Fulbright experience brought her family closer together, advanced her professional research, and provided her a platform to collaborate with others to enhance their academic pursuits as well.

Ask Me About:

  • Living in Melbourne
  • Lecturing in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Tasmania, and New Zealand
  • Taking a family on Fulbright including enrollment in local schools for teens
  • Things to do before your Fulbright begins to make the most of your time in-country
  • Navigating leadership roles for females in a male-dominated culture