Associate Dean for Faculty Development & John Byrd Martin Chair of Law
dennis photo
(706) 542-5556

University of Georgia
School of Law
212 Hirsch Hall
Athens, GA 30602
United States

Administrative Support

B.S., University of Maryland
J.D., New York University


Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure II
Lawyering for Children
Children in the Legal System
Family Law

Biographical Information

Andrea L. Dennis joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2010 and was appointed to the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law in 2019. She currently serves as the school's associate dean for faculty development. In this capacity, she works closely with the school's professors to promote world-class scholarship, support the pursuit of extramural funding, oversee promotion and tenure matters, and work with the other associate and assistant deans on strategic initiatives.

She came to UGA from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she taught courses in criminal law and procedure, children and the law, and family law. Dennis received the University of Kentucky Alumni Association Great Teacher Award in 2010. Nominations for the award are submitted by students, and candidates must have superior knowledge of their subject matter, employ original and innovative classroom presentations, and demonstrate concern for students both inside and outside of the classroom. Dennis has also taught legal analysis and writing and research at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Previously, Dennis served as an assistant federal public defender in the District of Maryland. She also worked for the Office of the Corporation Counsel prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases on behalf of the District of Columbia. At Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., Dennis practiced corporate and patent litigation and antitrust law as an associate. She has also served as a judicial clerk for Judge Raymond A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In addition to her legal experience, Dennis was a senior associate in the National Office of Job Corps for the U.S. Department of Labor, where she engaged in strategic analysis and planning for national vocational training programs for at-risk youth.

Her scholarship explores criminal defense lawyering, race and criminal justice, criminal informants and cooperators, youth advocacy, legal socialization of youth and the cradle-to-prison pipeline. Dennis' book "Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics and Guilt in America" has received national attention, and courts nationwide have cited her research on rap lyrics as criminal evidence. She has also published works in the American Criminal Law Review, the Catholic University Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts, the Howard Law Journal, the Marquette Law Review, the Nebraska Law Review, the Nevada Law Journal and the Journal of Legal Education. Additionally, she has been quoted in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets about rap lyrics being used as criminal evidence in trials across the country.

Dennis earned her B.S. in engineering with a psychology concentration from the University of Maryland and her J.D. from New York University, where she served on the Annual Survey of American Law.

Publications & Activities


Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America (2019) (with E. Nielson).


Decriminalizing Childhood, 45 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1 (2017).

Criminal Law as Family Law, 33 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 285 (2017).

Black Contemporary Social Movements, Resource Mobilization, and Black Musical Activism, 79 Law & Contemp. Probs. 29 (2016).

Talk Don't Touch? Considerations for Children's Attorneys on the Physical Touch of Clients, 65 Cath. U. L. Rev. 253 (2015).

Good Cop-Bad Cop: Police Violence and the Child's Mind, 58 How. L.J. 811 (2015).

Encouraging Victims: Responding to a Recent Study of Battered Women Who Commit Crimes, 15 Nev. L. J. 1 (2014) (with Carol E. Jordan).

Teaching "The Wire": Crime, Evidence, and Kids, 64 J. Legal Educ. 111 (2014).

A Snitch in Time: An Historical Sketch of Black Informing During Slavery, 97 Marq. L. Rev. 279 (2013).

Prosecutorial Discretion and the Neglect of Juvenile Shielding Statutes, 90 Neb. L. Rev. 341 (2011).

Collateral Damage? Juvenile Snitches in America's Wars on Drugs, Crime, and Gangs, 46 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1145 (2009); reprinted in Adam M. Gershowitz, The Wire: Crime, Law, and Policy 372 (Carolina Acad. Press 2013).

Poetic (In)Justice? Rap Music Lyrics as Art, Life, and Criminal Evidence, 31 Colum. J.L. & Arts 1 (2007); reprinted in Hip Hop and the Law: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement (Pamela Bridgewter, andre douglas pond cummings, & Donald Tibbs eds., Carolina Acad. Press 2014)

Note, Because I am Black, Because I am Woman: Remedying the Sexual Harassment Experience of Black Women, 1996 N.Y.U. Ann. Surv. Am. L. 555.


Contemporary Homeschooling: Black Children's Best Interests, Freedom from Religion, and Anti-Racism, Canopy Forum on the Interactions of Law & Religion (2020) (with Cheryl Fields-Smith). 

The Music of Mass Incarceration, Landslide 14 (2020).