Partner

1424 4th Street Suite 214-2221
Santa Monica, CA 90401
USA

Overview

As a founding partner of M&R, Dr. Roberts centers her practice on providing respectful support to local practitioners seeking accountability for international crimes in their own country’s courts.

Biography

Dr. L. Kathleen Roberts has represented victims and survivors of human rights violations and international atrocity crimes in court for over fifteen years. She has extensive trial experience. She has led or supervised investigation of grave crimes cases from twelve countries spanning five continents. Representing the victims, she led trial teams to victory in Yousuf v. Samantar, Ahmed v. Magan, Jara v. Barrientos, and Warfaa v. Ali.  Her work on behalf of Somali victims has been covered widely in the United States and Africa, including by ABC’s 20/20, CNN Investigations, and a feature-length documentary Somaliland: Kill All but the Crows, of Al Jazeera’s People and Power series. Her work on behalf of the family of slain Chilean folksinger Víctor Jara was covered extensively in the United States and Chile, and was the subject of two hour-long specials: Anhelada Justicia of Chilevision’s En La Mira, and Massacre at the Stadium of Netflix original series Remastered.

Dr. Roberts has assisted local practitioners in international crimes investigation and prosecution in Chile, Guatemala, Kosovo, and Tunisia. Her specialties include universal jurisdiction, foreign official immunity, and litigating international crimes in national courts, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, and conflict-related sexual violence.

Dr. Roberts is a member of the faculty of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations and served for almost a decade as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco where she taught a number of post-graduate level courses involving human rights law. She has lectured extensively on human rights, international criminal law, victim representation, and transnational litigation. She also serves as Co-Director of the Transitional Justice Clinic.

She is admitted to practice in California.

Expertise

  • International criminal law and customary international law, including norms relating to sexual and gender-based violence, torture, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, universal jurisdiction, and foreign official immunity.
  • International criminal investigations, including for conflict-related sexual violence crimes.  
  • Victim representation in adjudicating human rights violations and international crimes, especially in domestic courts.
  • Courtroom advocacy, including motion and trial practice in California, Florida, Virginia and Ohio. 
  • Drafting appellate and trial court pleadings, including merits and amicus curiae briefs to the U. S. Supreme Court, appellate briefings at the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits and dispositive and discovery motions in federal district courts in California, Florida, Virginia and Ohio. 
  • Discovery management, including taking, defending, and participating in depositions and remote trial testimony in California, Virginia, Djibouti, and Chile.

Education

  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, J.D., 2004
  • University of Illinois, Urbana, Ph.D., philosophy, 2001
  • University of Illinois, Urbana, M.A., philosophy, 1997
  • University of Tenn., Knoxville, B.A., English, philosophy, 1992

Admissions

  • State Bar of California, 233481 (December 3, 2004)
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California (January 31, 2008)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California (June 11, 2008)
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California (June 18, 2008)
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (June 17, 2008)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (October 25, 2016)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (May 2, 2018)
  • United States Supreme Court (January 25, 2010)

Languages

  • English: Native Fluency (mother tongue)
  • Spanish (very high proficiency)

Selected Publications