Deidre Bowen

Deirdre Bowen

Moccasin Lake Foundation Endowed Chair and Professor of Law
Director, Family Law Center

 Sullivan Hall 433


Email Deirdre


  • Family Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Reproductive Justice
  • Constitutional Law


  • B.A., cum laude, Boston University
  • J.D., cum laude, State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Buffalo School of Law; Moot Court Board
  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Department of Sociology


Dr. Deirdre Bowen is the Moccasin Lake Foundation Endowed Chair in Family Law, where she is a nationally recognized expert in three areas: family law, domestic violence, and affirmative action. Her work has been widely published and cited.  She founded and directs the Family Law Center which provides advocacy, direct representation, and research in domestic violence, family law, and reproductive justice. In addition, Professor Bowen teaches Family Law, Domestic Violence Law, Reproductive Justice, Comparative Family Law and Constitutional Law. She also is a principal investigator conducting research on firearms and domestic violence with her colleagues at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center Firearm Injury Prevention Research and Policy Group. Finally, Dr. Bowen co-founded and co-directs the Law & Policy Study Abroad Program in Madrid.

She graduated cum laude and with honors from Boston University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Philosophy. She then attended the University of Buffalo School of Law, graduating cum laude and winning the Adolph Homberger award for excellence in Civil Procedure and winning a position on the Moot Court Board. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Bowen practiced complex litigation at Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. Then, she worked as the lead negotiator at Call For Action, a national consumer protection organization. In that role, she negotiated the largest settlement for consumer fraud in the history of the organization.

After four years of practicing law, Dr. Bowen pursued her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington, where she was awarded the Norman S. Hayner prize for Criminology. Her dissertation featured groundbreaking work on plea bargaining. She began her teaching career as a visiting professor at the University of Washington, Bothell and then moved to Seattle University's sociology and criminology department, where she taught courses in statistics, research design, deviance and social control, and family and society.

Her research on families, the legal system, and affirmative action has been published in the top law journals in the country. Her work has garnered awards, such as Best Paper at the National People of Color Conference, been quoted in The New York Times, republished in textbooks, and been cited to in multiple United States Supreme Court amici briefs and books — including by Professor Laurence Tribe. Dr. Bowen regularly speaks at national and international conferences. However, she is most proud to have been nominated Outstanding Professor of the year nine times and awarded this honor in 2007, 2010, 2018 & 2021.