Chi Adanna Mgbako

Chi Mgbako

Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Leitner International Human Rights Clinic

Telephone: 212-636-7716
Office: Room 7-125
SSRN (academic papers)
The Huffington Post

Research and Teaching Areas

Human Rights; Sex Workers' Rights; Access to Justice; Gender and Sexuality in Africa


Chi Adanna Mgbako is clinical professor of law and founding director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. She and her students work on human rights campaigns, policy reports, mobile legal aid clinics, and public interest lawsuits in partnership with grassroots organizations focusing on access to justice and the sexual health and rights of marginalized populations. She has conducted fieldwork and advocacy in many countries, among them Botswana, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States. Her publications have appeared in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Law, and Human Rights Quarterly and popular media including The New York Times (Global Edition), The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Her first book, on sex worker activism in Africa, will be published by NYU Press in fall 2015.

She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia University, a former fellow with the International Crisis Group, and has been honored as one of the National Law Journal’s “Top 40 Lawyers of Color Under 40,” Fordham Law School’s “Public Interest Professor of the Year,” and the Police Reform Organizing Project's “Citizen of the City Award” recipient.

Selected Publications


  • To Live Freely in this World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa, NYU Press (forthcoming fall 2015)

    Book Chapters and Reviews

  • Book Review, Out in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa by Ashley Currier (2012), 35 Human Rights Quarterly 2 (May 2013)

  • Engaging Legal Dualism: Paralegal Organizations and Customary Law in Sierra Leone and Liberia in The Future of African Customary Law, Cambridge University Press, Fenrich, Galizzi, and Higgins, eds. (with Kristina Scurry Baehr) (2011)


Professor Mgbako received her JD from Harvard Law School, where she was awarded the Gary Bellow Public Service Award, the Dean's Award for Community Leadership, the Kaufman Public Service Fellowship, and a post-graduate Henigson Human Rights Fellowship. She earned her BA in History, magna cum laude, from Columbia University, where she was a John F. Kluge Scholar.

  • Harvard Law School, JD, 2005
  • Columbia University, BA, magna cum laude, 2001