University of Missouri Kansas City    

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

The urban public law school with a small liberal arts feel

Nancy Levit
Curators' and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law


Professor Levit teaches Defamation & Privacy, Employment Discrimination, Gender & Justice, Jurisprudence, and Torts, and is a faculty advisor to the UMKC Law Review. She is also a member of UMKC's Women's and Gender Studies faculty. She has previously taught courses in Criminal Law and Constitutional Law.

The students have voted Professor Levit the Law School’s Outstanding Professor of the Year five times (most recently in 2013 and 2015). She has received the Daniel L. Brenner Faculty Publishing Award (three times), the Elmer P. Pierson Faculty Teaching Award (three times ), and the campus N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. In 1998 she was named the Law School’s first Daniel L. Brenner Scholar. In 2000 she was awarded a UKC Trustees Faculty Fellowship. In 2001, she received the title of Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law. In 2004 she was the UMKC campus nominee for the University of Missouri's Presidential Teaching Award. In 2012, she received the Missouri Governor's Award for Teaching Excellence. The University of Missouri awarded her a Curators' Professorship in 2005. She is one of 26 law professors in the country who is profiled in the book by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz et al., What the Best Law Teachers Do, recently published by Harvard University Press.

Professor Levit’s scholarship is principally in the areas of employment discrimination, legal pedagogy, constitutional law, jurisprudence, torts, and feminist legal theory. Her book with Doug Linder, The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law, was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Their sequel, The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law, was published by Oxford in 2015. She has also written books about feminist legal theory, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer (NYU Press 2d ed. 2016) (co-authored with Rob Verchick, with an introduction by Martha Minow), jurisprudence, Jurisprudence—Classical and Contemporary: From Natural Law to Postmodernism (West Group 2002) (co-authored with Robert L. Hayman, Jr., and Richard Delgado), and sex segregation, feminism, and masculinity, The Gender Line: Men, Women, and the Law (NYU Press 1998). She was the editor of the Kansas Criminal Defense Manual and is presently the editorial associate of the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Her articles have appeared in the California Law Review, the Fordham Law Review, the George Washington University Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Hofstra Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, the Ohio State Law Journal, the UCLA Law Review, the University of Colorado Law Review, and the Wisconsin Law Review, among other places.

A former Chair of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, in 2016, she was elected President of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools. She served as Interim Associate Dean of Faculty at UMKC Law School in 2015-16.

She received her B.A. with highest honors from Bates College, and her J.D. from the University of Kansas, where she was an editor on the Law Review. She was the recipient of a number of academic honors, including Order of the Coif, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and the West Award for Scholarship. After graduation, Professor Levit clerked for federal district judge Frank Theis, and worked on the Dalkon Shield multidistrict litigation. During this time, she volunteered at the Sedgwick County Public Defender Office. Prior to joining the UMKC faculty, she was a trial attorney with Stinson, Mag & Fizzell. She has been a member of the American Civil Liberties Union Legal Panel and an Assistant Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and has engaged in pro bono criminal and death penalty representation.

Professor Levit enjoys distance running and sprint triathlons. She is married to Tim Geary, and they have two children, Aaron and Dylan Elizabeth, an “adopted” law student, Jon, and a blue weimaraner named Niko.

Happy Lawyer

The Happy Lawyer is available from

You can access her papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at: 

Nancy Levit