Professor Akbar received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. the University of Michigan, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review.
After law school she clerked for Judge Gerard E. Lynch in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She spent two years as a staff attorney with the Queens Legal Service Corp., part of Legal Services NYC, and taught for three years as a clinical fellow with the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University, and one year at City University of New York Law School in the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) project, a cross-clinical collaboration between the Immigrant & Refugee Rights Clinic and the Defenders Clinic. Her research focuses on the intersections of national security and criminal law.