Faculty Directory

Cara McNamara

Adjunct Professor


Cara McNamara is an Adjunct Professor and co-teaches Restorative Justice & the Criminal Justice System. She dedicated her legal career to serving indigent defendants in state and federal courts as a public defender for the past 20 years. For the past eight years, she has served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Boston Federal Defender Office, where she litigates complex felony criminal cases. In addition, she serves as the Boston Federal Defender liaison to the District of Massachusetts’ Reentry (R.E.S.T.A.R.T.) program and diversion (R.I.S.E.) program committees. She is also a coordinator of the District of Massachusetts Restorative Justice Program, where she co-facilitates restorative justice circles and preparation for individual restorative conferences.

Prior to her work at the Boston Federal Defender, she worked in the same capacity at the Alaska Federal Public Defender, and with a state public defender agency in Alaska (Office of Public Advocacy) where she was awarded the Litigator of the Year in 2009. Her caseload and trial practice included serious felony assaults, sexual assaults, homicides, firearm violations, drug distribution, and financial fraud. She also served as the representative to the Wellness Court in the Alaska Trial Court, a therapeutic court model serving clients with mental health diagnosis and treatment needs. She was a co-founding member and Vice President of the Alaska Innocence Project and served for many years as a board member of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty.

McNamara graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Anthropology and received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.