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Professor William R. Montross, Jr.

William R. Montross, Jr.
Adjunct Professor of Law &

William R. Montross, Jr. was a Visiting Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic during the 2016-2017 academic year. Prior to joining UDC, Professor Montross spent a year as a Visiting Professor of Law with teaching and clinical supervision responsibilities in both the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic and Criminal Justice Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center.

From 2003 to 2015, Professor Montross was a Staff Attorney and, later, Senior Counsel for the Capital Litigation Unit of the Southern Center for Human Rights. In that capacity, he both represented individual clients and advocated for the reform and abolition of capital punishment. While practicing in the “Death Belt,” Professor Montross succeeded in reversing convictions and lessening sentences for death-row inmates in Alabama and Georgia. He has represented capital clients from initial pre-trial proceedings through direct appeals, state postconviction proceedings and federal habeas corpus litigation. He has served as first-chair capital counsel before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Alabama Supreme Court, the Alabama Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia. Professor Montross is also a national speaker and trainer on death-penalty matters.

Since 2009, Professor Montross has also been a Core Faculty member of Gideon’s Promise (formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center) which seeks to inspire, mobilize, and assist young lawyers to provide the highest quality legal representation to indigent persons accused of crimes. As a Core Faculty Member, Professor Montross develops and trains young attorneys while also assisting supervisors and directors in public defender offices attempting to implement practices consistent with client-centered representation. Professor Montross has also served on the Steering Committee of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Due Process Review Project since 2014.

Following graduation from Harvard Law School, Professor Montross clerked for the Honorable Gary S. Stein of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He then completed the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center, receiving an LL.M. in trial advocacy. Before joining the Southern Center for Human Rights, Professor Montross was a public defender in Philadelphia (Defender Association of Philadelphia) and New York (The Bronx Defenders and the Office of the Appellate Defender).


  • William R. Montross, Jr. and Meghan Shapiro, Wrecking Life: When the State Seeks to Kill, in How Can You Represent Those People? (Abbe Smith and Monroe H. Freedman eds., Palgrave Macmillan 2013).
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Book Review, The Champion, (January/February 2012) (review of “Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned,” by Richard Jaffe (2012)).
  • William R. Montross, Jr. and Patrick Mulvaney, Virtue and Vice – Who Will Report on the Failings of the American Criminal Justice System?, 61 Stan. L. Rev. 1429 (2009).
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Book Review, The Champion, (March 2009) (review of “Execution’s Doorstep: True Stories of the Innocent and Near Damned,” by Leslie Lytle (2008)).
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Go, Witness, and Speak, The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2008).
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Book Review, The Champion, (May/June 2008) (review of “In the Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families,” by Elizabeth Beck, Sarah Britto, & Arlene Andrews (2007)).
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Op-Ed., No More Secrets: Shine a Light on Alabama’s Death-Penalty Process, The Birmingham News, October 7, 2007, §B, at 1, 4.
  • William R. Montross, Jr., Book Review, The Champion, (April 2007) (review of “Dead Wrong: Violence, & the Victims of Capital Punishment,” by Richard A. Stack (2006)).
  • Abbe Smith and William R. Montross, Jr., The Calling of Criminal Defense, 50 Mercer L. Rev. 443 (1999).


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