Michael Serota

Michael Serota
Michael Serota, Associate Professor of Law

Associate Professor of Law
Director, Criminal Justice Reform Lab

Courses Taught

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Justice Reform



  • BS, summa cum laude, George Washington University
  • JD, UC Berkeley School of Law


Michael Serota is an Associate Professor at Loyola Law School and the Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Lab. Professor Serota teaches and writes about criminal law and public policy. He is a nationally recognized mens rea scholar who specializes in interdisciplinary criminal justice projects that bring together experts from across academia and the policy world. Current efforts include:

  • Conducting the first ever empirical analysis of mens rea reform in collaboration with social scientists at the RAND Corporation and Arnold Ventures;
  • Conducting the nation’s largest survey on public attitudes about mens rea and the influence of culpable mental states on moral judgment in collaboration with a philosopher and a criminologist at the University of Surrey;
  • Conducting a systematic content analysis of fifteen years of legislative debate over criminal law reform in collaboration with criminologists at Arizona State University, a legal director at the ACLU, and a computer scientist at Cal Poly.

Professor Serota is the author of more than 30 articles, essays, and opinion pieces. His writing can be found in print journals such as the New York University Law Review, California Law Review, and Minnesota Law Review, the online publications of the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and news outlets such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. Professor Serota's research has been translated into two languages and cited hundreds of times, including by state and federal courts, casebooks, and legal treatises. He is also a Senior Research Scholar with the Academy for Justice at Arizona State University.

Professor Serota advises state governments, reform organizations, and media outlets on criminal justice reform, building on his years of legislative experience.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Serota served as the chief policy counsel for the only ground-up criminal code reform project to take place in the United States since the 1980s.  Professor Serota has also worked for three federal judges, and taught introductory courses on criminal justice to incarcerated and at-risk youth through Georgetown Law’s D.C. Street Law Clinic and Berkeley Law’s Advocates for Youth Justice Program.