Bernice B. Donald

Edenfield Jurist in Residence

B.A., J.D., University of Memphis


Persuading the Judge and Jury

Biographical Information: 

Bernice B. Donald serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Prior to being appointed to this position in 2011, she served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee for more than 15 years. She is currently chair of the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, and she recently chaired a committee that published an implicit bias resource book for judges and practitioners. Previously, she served as chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section, where her focus was on issues concerning implicit bias, children of incarcerated parents, mass incarceration and the collateral consequences of incarceration. Having previously served as secretary of the ABA, Donald is currently a member of the ABA House of Delegates and is a member of the American Law Institute. She has also served as faculty at the National Judicial College, the Federal Judicial Center and the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.

Donald has served as a Jurist in Residence at the New York University, American University, Washington University and the University of Cincinnati law schools. In addition, she has served as faculty for international programs in Romania, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Bosnia, Jordan, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Uganda, Thailand, Armenia, Jamaica, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Great Britain, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Her writings include: “A Glimpse Inside the Brain’s Black Box: Understanding the Role of Neuroscience in Criminal Sentencing” in 85 Fordham Law Review 481 (2016); “Not Your Father’s Legal Profession: Technology, Globalization, Diversity, and the Future of Law Practice in the United States” in 44 University of Memphis Law Review 645 (2014); “The Not-So-New Normal of the Legal Profession: Facing and Confounding the Odds” in 23 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law 1 (2014). Donald has received over 100 awards for professional, civic and community activities, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis, the Martin Luther King Community Service Award and the Benjamin Hooks Award from the Memphis Bar Foundation. Her law degree and bachelor’s degree is from the University of Memphis.