About

Suja Thomas – Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

Suja Thomas is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on the criminal jury, civil jury, grand jury, civil procedure, and employment law.

Her book The Missing American Jury: Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries (Cambridge University Press) shows that the American jury hears few cases and has little authority. But it was not always this way. The book describes how authority has shifted to the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, and the states and why this has occurred. It also shows how the jury can be restored to its position as essentially a “branch” of government. Her co-authored book Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law (Oxford University Press) shows how few employment discrimination cases are decided by juries, and even when juries decide, judges second guess juries decisions. The book exposes the myriad doctrines used by courts to discount good evidence of discrimination and dismiss employment discrimination cases. Her previous work has been published in the Virginia Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Minnesota Review, and Boston College Law Review, among other law reviews.

Her opinion piece A Jury, Not the S.E.C., co-authored with Mark Cuban, was published in the New York Times.
National media outlets have discussed her research including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Law Journal, and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Her work has been cited in testimony to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Upon the request of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, she also submitted testimony on the access of Americans to courts.

Federal and state judges have also cited her research.

She has given invited lectures to many groups. These include Town Hall Seattle, the Portland Public Library in Portland, Maine, Teachers’ Training Programs, the American Board of Trial Advocates National Jury Summit, the Northwestern University Judicial Symposium, the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Civil Rights Training Institute, and the California Employment Lawyers’ Association Annual Meeting.

Professor Thomas practiced law for many years in New York City, including at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, participating in jury trials and arbitration. Her past experience also includes participating in several criminal trials on behalf of the federal public defender.

Professor Thomas’s complete resume is available here.

  • Email: sathomas@illinois.edu
  • Phone: 217-244-7614
  • Address:
    Suja A. Thomas
    Professor
    University of Illinois College of Law
    504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
    Champaign, IL 61820
  • Twitter: @sujathomas3