Carolyn Patty Blum is a Clinical Professor of Law, Emerita at Berkeley Law, University of California, where she directed the International Human Rights Law Clinic and taught the core courses in human rights and refugee law. She practiced in a legal services agency serving immigrants and refugees for eight years prior to initiating the clinical program in immigration and asylum law at Berkeley Law in 1984.
Professor Blum was the guiding force behind the creation of Berkeley’s International Human Rights Law Clinic, which opened in 1998 as part of the school’s Center for Clinical Education. Professor Blum retired from Berkeley in 2002 to move to New York. She has recently returned to California and sits on the Advisory Board for the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center.
Professor Blum is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford and, for the past twenty-five years, has been on the faculty of the Oxford Masters in International Human Rights Law Program and the Oxford-G.W. Human Rights Summer School. Among other duties, Professor Blum currently supervises the writing of the masters’ dissertation.
Professor Blum also is as an independent human rights consultant to academic, philanthropic and human rights organizations. She was the Senior Legal Adviser to the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), a San Francisco-based NGO that seeks to bring human rights abusers to justice. Professor Blum worked with CJA on its docket of cases seeking justice and accountability for torture, massacres, and extra-judicial killings during the Salvadoran state terror of the 1980s, including successful Alien Tort Statute/Torture Victim Protection Act cases against senior military commanders. She then represented CJA clients who testified in the DHS cases that led to the removal of two former Salvadoran Ministers of Defense from the U.S. She also has worked at the Center for Constitutional Rights on their Guantanamo docket and the International Center for Transitional Justice on an accountability project concerning U.S. abuses in the war on terror.
The recipient of two Ford Foundation research grants, Professor Blum has been involved in precedent setting litigation involving Central American and Haitian refugees. She has received three prestigious professional awards: two from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and one from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Professor Blum’s scholarship dovetails with her professional work in the fields of refugee and human rights law, with a special emphasis on transitional justice, the use of national courts to achieve accountability, the role of media in human rights, and the development of the doctrine of command responsibility. Her government service has included a stint on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team. Professor Blum recently completed a book based on her parents’ World War II correspondence entitled Somewhere: The Story of Irv, Lois, and a World at War.