Maria Kolar

Associate Professor of Law
(405) 208-5965

Capital Punishment
Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure

B.A., The University of Notre Dame
M.A., Emory University
J.D., Yale Law School

Office Hours:

Monday 2-3 p.m., Wednesday 1-2 p.m., and by appointment.


Professor Kolar joined the Oklahoma City University School of Law faculty in the fall of 2020. She previously taught at the University of Oklahoma College of Law for five years, where she taught Legal Research and Writing and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Most recently, she worked for two years in the Homicide Direct Appeals Division of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.

Prof. Kolar got her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in the Great Books Program. Her M.A. is from Emory University in Philosophy, and her J.D. is from Yale Law School.

Following law school, Prof. Kolar served as a law clerk for the Honorable Joel M. Flaum on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. She then moved to Oklahoma and worked in private practice as a litigation associate, first at McAfee & Taft and then at Hartzog, Conger & Cason.

Prof. Kolar served as a law clerk on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for nearly thirteen years, first for the Honorable Charles S. Chapel and then for the Honorable Clancy Smith. She also served as a law clerk on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma for two years, focused solely on capital habeas corpus cases.

Prof. Kolar was a member of the bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, which released its Report in April of 2017. The Report called for many specific reforms and a moratorium on the death penalty “until significant reforms have been accomplished.” Prof. Kolar also served on the Oklahoma Committee for Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions for five years.

Prof. Kolar’s research and scholarship is focused on justice and fairness issues in the criminal law and criminal procedure realm. She has published on the role of the jury in death penalty sentencing and on the overly expansive use of the felony murder rule. She is passionate about justice and the rule of law, criminal law and criminal procedure, and teaching and inspiring students. She has learned so much from her many experiences and enjoys sharing this perspective with her students.

Prof. Kolar was a finalist in Oklahoma City University’s CETL “Full-Time Faculty Teacher of the Year Award” for the 2022-2023 school year.

Prof. Kolar is married to Dr. Randall Kolar, Director of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma. And they treasure their five children: John, Charlie, Sam, Katie, and Ben.