Savala Nolan

  • Executive Director, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice
  • Tel: 510-643-5402 | Fax: 510-642-3728
  • 787 Simon Hall

Savala Nolan joined the Henderson Center in January 2016, where she leads over 50 lectures, symposia, teach-ins, and skills building workshops a year for law students, scholars, and activists. She spearheaded the creation of a Race and Law concentration, successfully endowed a new racial justice fellowship, and works closely with affinity groups and law journals to prepare students for a thriving social justice practice.

Nolan’s first book, a collection of essays about race, gender, and the body, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2021. She and her writing about race, gender, and culture have also been featured in/on Vogue, Time, NPR, the Huffington Post, Forbes, the Detroit Free Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She is a regular keynote speaker and panelist on social justice issues, including implicit bias, structural racism, understanding Whiteness, and the importance of social justice work for all lawyers.

In addition to leading the Henderson Center, Nolan is a member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee. She previously served on the Faculty-Staff Climate Committee, chaired the working group on Institutional Knowledge, and served as an equity advisor to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

Prior to joining the Henderson Center, Nolan was Associate Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University’s Law School in Detroit, Michigan. She practiced law at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP (then Keker & Van Nest) in San Francisco. Nolan also clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, in 2010, served as a law clerk in the Obama Administration’s Office of White House Counsel, where she prepared research memoranda on constitutional matters. Before law school, Nolan worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.


B.A., New York University
J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law