Thea Posel is a clinical assistant professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and the School of Law and the JD/MSSW dual degree advisor for the School of Law. She has worked with capital defense teams in both Colorado and Texas, from pre-trial litigation preparation and consulting to state and federal post-conviction cases. Thea’s areas of interest include jury selection, jury decision-making, and mitigation investigation and presentation, and her legal career has focused primarily on Texas state court advocacy and consulting at the capital trial, appellate, and habeas stages.

At UT, Thea teaches an interdisciplinary course on mitigation and sentencing advocacy, and has taught classes in the law school related to capital representation at trial and postconviction proceedings as well as social welfare policy and social problems in the MSSW program. She is passionate about incorporating social workers into defense teams and improving the quality of client relationships and advocacy in all levels of criminal legal representation.

Thea holds a sociology degree from the University of Colorado, where her undergraduate research focused on the effects of race and class in capital prosecutions, sentencing outcomes, and participation in the criminal legal system as well as social and environmental effects and attitudes surrounding the death penalty in Colorado. Along with Professors Jordan Steiker and Jim Marcus, she is a co-author of The Problem of “Rubber-Stamping” in State Capital Habeas Proceedings: A Harris County Case Study, 55 Hous. L. Rev. 889 (2018), and most recently authored “When Justice Depends on It: The Need for Professional Standards for Mitigation Development in All Criminal Cases” with Dr. Elizabeth Vartkessian, Anthony Ginez, and Lela Hubbard, 52 U. Balt. L. Rev. 449 (2023).

She graduated from the University of Colorado Law School and has been at UT since August 2016.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Jury selection, jury decision-making, and mitigation investigation and presentation.