Paula Franzese   


Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law B.A., Columbia University
  • Contact:

  • Tel:  973-642-8817
  • SSRN Site link
  • Courses:

  • Property, Commercial Law Survey, First Amendment Values

Professor Paula Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law, is one of the country's leading experts in property law as well as government ethics. She has spearheaded ethics reform initiatives on behalf of three governors, serving as Special Ethics Counsel to Governor Richard Codey, Chair of the State Ethics Commission, Vice-Chair of the Election Law Enforcement Commission and as ethics advisor to state and local governments across the country, including Mayor Cory Booker's administration in Newark. In 2014, Professor Franzese was appointed Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions.

The author of numerous publications, her scholarship in the area of Property Law includes critical examination of common interest communities, homeowners associations and the dilemma of privatization, the law of servitudes, exclusionary zoning, affordable housing, adverse possession doctrine and takings law. She joined in the submission to the U.S. Supreme Court of an amicus brief in the Kelo Case, and has written and presented on takings law reform. She has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a highly coveted honor, is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Sir Thomas More Medal of Honor, the YWCA Woman of Influence Award, the Women Lawyers Association's Trailblazer Award, and the State Bar Foundation's Medal of Honor. Most recently, in 2015 she received the Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid Medal, the University's highest honor.  In 2011, she was presented with the National Council on Governmental Ethics Laws(COGEL)Award, the highest form of recognition conferred by the organization, in honor of her "significant,demonstrable and positive contributions to the fields of campaign finance, elections, ethics, freedom of information and lobbying over a significant period of time." Amongst her groundbreaking initiatives in those arenas, she and Justice Daniel J. O'Hern promulgated the Uniform Ethics Code, a pioneering statutory achievement and a model for national replication.

Professor Franzese is the creator of the acclaimed Short and Happy Guide book series (West Publishing) and is the author of A Short and Happy Guide to Property (2d ed.), A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student. Excerpts from A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student can be found at She is the author of Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Property (Aspen), is a contributor to the books America's Second Gilded Age? Perspectives on Law and Class Differences (NYU Press), The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (Carolina Academic Press), and Reaction and Reform in New Jersey (Hall Institute). She co-authored Property Law and the Public Interest (with Callies, Mandelker & Hylton), which expansively explored the public interest dimensions of Property law. She serves on the editorial board of the Land Use and Environmental Law Review, a prestigious peer-reviewed scholarly journal. She has published extensively on the anatomy of ethics reform of state and local government, and in the areas of law teaching and attorney professionalism.

Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, a new book names Professor Franzese one of only 26 "best law teachers in the United States." The book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press 2013), profiles in detail the pedagogical approach that renders her a "dazzlingly effective model of rigor, hard work, creativity and humility." Professor Franzese is the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Student Bar Association's Professor of the Year Award, has been named "Exemplary Teacher" by the American Association of Higher Education, was ranked the Top Law Professor in New Jersey by the New Jersey Law Journal and in 2015 was named Faculty Teacher of the Year. She has demonstrated and deconstructed her pedagogical expertise on teaching as both art and science at workshops and colloquia across the country. Most recently, she served as Distinguished Teaching and Learning Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is the Gilbert's "Legend of the Law" in Property (CD series, Lexis) and the national Property lecturer for the BAR/BRI bar review course. She is the past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods and serves as Vice-Chair of the Legal Education Section of the American Bar Association.

Deeply committed to education reform and the public interest, Prof. Franzese serves on the Boards of Trustees of Mount St. Dominic Academy, St. Catherine of Siena School and the Community Health Law Project. She has pioneered the cause of law-related education and informed mentoring initiatives throughout the country as Past President of the Justice Resource Center. Her presentations on the importance of teachers have been showcased at teacher conferences, leadership academies, bench-bar symposia and school district convocations. In 2015, Professor Franzese was named one of twenty Inspiring Women in Education by sheknows media.

Professor Franzese was a litigator with Cahill, Gordon, and Reindel in New York City, where she also served as a member of the New York Housing Court Reform Project and the Governor's Task Force on Life and Law. She clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was awarded the Bryson Prize, Alpha Zeta Fellowship, Marion Churchill White Prize, Davidson-Foreman Foundation Award and Barnard Alumnae Fellowship, and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where she was an International Fellow, Teaching Fellow and recipient of the prestigious Rosenman Prize for excellence in public law courses.



The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord Tenant Reform, (forthcoming, 2016)

Empathic Teaching, Empathic Learning, 21 The Law Teacher 54 (2014)

Law Teaching for the Conceptual Age, 44 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (2014)

New Jersey Common Interest Communities: Predictors of Distress and an Agenda for Reform, 63 Rutgers L. Rev. 101 (2011)

Reclaiming the Promise of the Judicial Branch: Toward a More Meaningful Standard of Judicial Review as Applied to New York Eminent Domain Law, 38 Fordham Urban L.J. 1091 (2011)

The Twin Rivers Case: Of Homeowners Associations, Free Speech Rights and Privatized Mini-Governments, 5 Rutgers J. Law & Public Policy 4 (2008)

Trust and Community: The Common Interest Community as Metaphor and Paradox, 72 Univ. of Missouri L. Rev. 1110 (2007)

Privatization and Its Discontents: Common Interest Communities and the Rise of Government for the "Nice.", 37 The Urban Lawyer 335 (2005)

Restoring the Public Trust: An Agenda for Ethics Reform of State Government and a Proposed Model for New Jersey, 57 Rutgers L. Rev. 1175 (2005)

Solutions to the Crisis in Affordable Housing: A Proposed Model for New York City, 3 Rutgers J. of Law & Urban Policy 84 (2005) (Maria Anderson)


Experiencing Property, West (forthcoming, 2015)

A Short and Happy Series (Twelve Titles), West (2015) (Creator and Editor)

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student, West (2014)

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student, West (2014)

Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching: Property, Aspen Publishing (2012)

A Short and Happy Guide to Property, Thomson (2011)

Property Law and the Public Interest, Third Edition, Lexis (2007) (with Mandelker, Callies & Hylton)

Reaction and Reform in New Jersey, Hall Institute (2007) (Contributor, (with Justice Daniel J. O'Hern), Ethics Reform Recommendations for The Executive Branch of New Jersey Government)

The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law As a Healing Profession, Carolina Academic Press (2006) (Contributor, Marjorie Silver, ed.)

Residential Privilege: The Advent of the Guarded Subdivision, to appear in America’s Second Gilded Age? Perspectives on Law and Class Differences, NYU Press (2005) (Paul Carrington & Trina Jones, eds.)

The Law According to Skyboxes, (2005) (Contributor, Paul Carrington, ed.)

Legends of the Law on Property, Thomson (2003)


Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government, J. of Regional Science (2012)


New Twin Rivers Test Applied to Homeowners Associations' Restrictions on Residents' Speech, LexisNexis 2007, Expert Commentaries Series


Landlord Tenant Reform in Crowded Housing Markets, Progressive Property Conference (May 13-14, 2016)

Behind the Veil: What the Best Law Professors Do, Association of American Law School Annual Meeting (2015/01/03)

Empathic Teaching, Empathic Learning, Chicago-Kent Law School Faculty Colloquium (2015/03/12)

Evolving Standards of Civility and Professionalism, New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting (2015/01/22)

Leading With Integrity, NJSBA Leadership Academy (2015/09/11)

Making It Stick: Empathic Teaching, Empathic Learning, University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2015/10/22)

Reclaiming the Public Trust: Ethics Reform in Troubling Times, NJ League of Women Voters, Princeton (2015/10/10)

Teachers as Agents of Change, Rahway School District (2015/09/02)

Teaching as Art and Science, University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2015/10/23)

The Science of Professional Learning, Pace Law School Faculty Colloquium (2015/02/04)

The Importance of Teachers, New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Conference for State Teachers (2014/03/08)

Knowing Our Worth: Reframing and Reclaiming the Promise of Equality, NJ Women Lawyers' Association Convocation (2013/11/01)

Prosecuting Public Corruption: Safeguards, Excesses and an Agenda for Reform, Circuit Review Symposium, Seton Hall Law School (2012/03/13)

Prosecutorial Misconduct, The Hall Institute (2012/02/22)

Attorney Professionalism and the Public Trust, New York State Bar Foundation (2011/02/25)

Eminent Domain: The NY Experience, Fordham Urban Law Journal Symposium (2011/02/11)

Ethics Reform and the Promise of Good Government, League of Municipalities keynote speaker (2010/11/18) (N.J. League of Municipalities 95th Annual Conference, Atlantic City, NJ)

Foreclosure Procedures in Turmoil, National Public Radio (2010/10/15)

Home Foreclosure Crisis, CNN (2010/10/08)