Dr Tara Lai Quinlan

Birmingham Law School
Lecturer in Law and Criminal Justice

Contact details

Address
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Tara Lai Quinlan’s research and teaching focus on criminal law, policing, disproportionality and diversity in the criminal justice system, and counterterrorism.  

Qualifications

  • PhD London School of Economics and Political Science
  • LLM King’s College London
  • JD Northeastern University School of Law
  • BA University of California, Berkeley

Biography

Dr Tara Lai Quinlan is a qualified American lawyer (New York), and joined Birmingham Law School in 2021 as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Law and Criminal Justice. Dr Quinlan’s empirical legal research and teaching focus on criminal law, policing, disproportionality and diversity in the criminal justice system, and counterterrorism. Dr Quinlan has previously taught at institutions including University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, London School of Economics, and Northeastern University School of Law.

Dr. Quinlan is currently completing a book for Policy Press (Bristol, UK), Police Diversity: Beyond The Blue (2023). The book compares US and UK experiences of police diversity, and implications of police diversity. The manuscript includes interviews with trailblazing US and UK police leaders.

Dr. Quinlan’s doctoral research examined counterterrorism policing partnerships and engagement with Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, and involved dozens of interviews with US and UK police and counterterrorism leaders.

Dr. Quinlan has authored works in the area of Bourdieusian criminology including an important piece on understanding policing culture through a Bourdieusian lens: (2019) ‘Field, Capital and the Policing Habitus: Understanding Bourdieu Through The NYPD’s Post-9/11 Counterterrorism Practices’, Criminology and Criminal Justice. Advanced online publication: https://doi.org/10.1177/1748895819848820. The piece is part of the Virtual Special Issue: Bourdieu on the Block: Punishment, Policing and the Street, Criminology and Criminal Justice (A. Fraser and S. Sandberg, eds.): https://journals.sagepub.com/page/crj/bourdieu-and-criminology

Before commencing her academic career, Dr. Quinlan practiced law in New York City, where she clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, worked as an employment lawyer for Outten & Golden LLP, and served as General Counsel to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

Dr Quinlan earned her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, her LLM from King’s College London, her JD from Northeastern University School of Law, and her Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley.

Teaching

  • Discrimination and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law

Postgraduate supervision

criminal law, criminal procedure, terrorism, counterterrorism, police


Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

Dr Quinlan’s socio-legal research focuses on criminal law and criminal procedure, policing, disproportionality and diversity in the criminal justice system, and counterterrorism.

Dr Quinlan’s forthcoming book, Police Diversity: Beyond The Blue (Bristol: Policy Press) examines the experiences of police officers from traditionally marginalised groups, and their impacts on disproportionate policing outcomes. The book draws on intersectionality and critical race theories to analyze relevant case law, empirical research, and original interviews with diverse UK and US police leaders. This research has also produced the recent law review article, How Police Culture Shapes Use of Lethal Force: A Response to Flores et al., 49 Georgia J. Int’l & Comp. L. 295 (2021), which considers the ways police street culture, police discretion, and police militarization contribute to police use of lethal force.

Dr Quinlan also examined British and American policy rationales for counterterrorism policing of Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities between 2001 and 2015 in her doctoral thesis, Blurred Boundaries: How Neoliberalisation Has Shaped Policy Development of Post-9/11 Counterterrorism Policing in London and New York City. This doctoral research drew on original documentary analysis and interviews with over 35 interviews leading British and American police and counterterrorism officials. This study has produced several publications including Field, Capital and the Policing Habitus: Understanding Bourdieu Through The NYPD’s Post-9/11 Counterterrorism Practices, 21 Criminology and Crim. Just. 187 (2021; first published online May 13, 2019), which also appeared in the Virtual Special Issue: Bourdieu on the Block: Punishment, Policing and the Street, Criminology and Criminal Justice (2020) (A. Fraser and S. Sandberg, eds.).

Expertise

  • Criminal law, criminal justice, police diversity, stop and search, counterterrorism