Sara Sternberg Greene

Associate Professor of Law

  • Sara Sternberg Greene

  • 210 Science Drive
    Box 90360
    Durham, NC 27708-0360

Sara Sternberg Greene is an interdisciplinary scholar whose interests span bankruptcy, commercial law, contracts, tax, poverty, and health law.  Broadly concerned in her scholarship with the relationship between law and inequality, Greene uses qualitative and quantitative empirical research to examine and, ultimately, optimize, the impact of financial laws on low- and moderate-income families.

Greene’s recent article, “The Broken Safety Net: A Study of Earned Income Tax Credit Recipients and a Proposal for Repair,” 88 NYU Law Review 515 (2013), is based on a novel study of 194 individuals with whom she and other researchers on her team conducted in-depth interviews regarding the EITC. She proposes a simple change to the tax credit’s distribution scheme that would help recipients manage financial shocks and ultimately accumulate savings. Another recent article, “‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul:’ Cultural Explanations for How Lower Income Families Manage Debt,” co-authored with Laura Tach, examines the debt-management strategies of low-income families and was recently published in the journal Social Problems. Among several bankruptcy-related projects Greene has ongoing, one utilizes data from the comprehensive 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project to predict consumer success in emerging from Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with a view to identifying ways to improve the system.

Greene received her BA, magna cum laude, in 2002 from Yale University and her JD in 2005 from Yale Law School, where she received the Stephen J. Massey Prize for excellence in advocacy and served as notes editor for the Yale Law Review and articles editor for the Yale Law and Policy Review.  She also served as chair of the student board of directors for the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and as student director and intern in the Housing and Community Development Clinic.  After clerking for Judge Richard Cudahy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Greene focused on housing law matters at Klein Hornig, in Boston before beginning a PhD program. She received her PhD in social policy and sociology from Harvard University in 2014.