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Martha Rayner

FLS Faculty Martha Rayner 240x240 SM

Clinical Associate Professor of Law

Telephone: 212-636-6941
Office: Room 9-108 (150 West 62nd Street, Ninth Floor)

Research and Teaching Areas

Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Civil Rights; Habeas; Sentencing; Parole; Human Rights and Law of War


Professor Rayner has been a clinical teacher at Fordham since 1998. She co-directs the Criminal Defense Clinic, which defends clients at the trial level, takes on the civil consequences of arrests, represents incarcerated persons seeking clemency, parole and in post-conviction matters, and engages in broad-based advocacy and litigation on behalf of clients indefinitely detained without charge by the United States military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

She began practicing law as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society and went on to be one of the founding members of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a community-based, model public defender office that redefined public defense from the traditional notion of working within the span of arraignment to conviction, to a broader demarcation of pre-arrest to post-disposition “after care.” At NDS, she developed a special unit that provided representation to clients facing the civil consequences of criminal accusations. Areas of practice included family law, housing, civil rights, immigration, and forfeiture, from trial to appellate level.

She is a proud member of the first graduating class of City University of New York School of Law and has taught in Fordham Law School’s Summer Ireland Program.

Selected Publications

  • You Love the Law Too Much. In J. Hafetz, Ed., Obama's Guantanamo: Stories From an Enduring Prison, NYU Press, 2016.
  • The Practitioner’s View: Clients at Guantanamo; The Global Effects of Wrongful Detention, Torture, and Unchecked Executive Power Symposium, 10 New York City Law Review 405, 2007
  • Roadblocks to Effective Representation of Uncharged, Indefinitely Imprisoned Clients at Guantanamo Bay Military Base, 30 Fordham Int. L. J. 485, 2007
  • Conference Report: New York City’s Criminal Courts: Are We Achieving Justice?, 31 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1023, 2004


  • Charles H. Revson Fellowship, Columbia University, 1997 - 1998
  • City University of New York School of Law, JD, 1986
  • Clark University, BA, 1980