Paula Franzese   

Professor Paula Franzese

Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law, and Director of Leadership Fellows Program

Professor Paula A. Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law and Director of the Leadership Fellows Program, is a leading expert in property law, fair housing, and government ethics. Her empirical work on the plight of low-income tenants facing eviction has been widely cited, garnering national attention, and her scholarship shines a light on the crisis in safe and affordable housing. She has critically examined how the aims of the Fair Housing Act have been frustrated by alarming declines in stocks of affordable housing, neglect, betrayal of habitability standards, tenant blacklisting, exclusionary zoning and gentrification. Featured on Top of Mind and Pod Curiam she concludes, "In the five decades since its ratification, the optimism of the Fair Housing Act's drafters has yielded to drastic budget cuts, lax oversight, rising gentrification, and the NIMBY syndrome. That is unjust and certainly not 'fair housing.' A safe place to call home is a human right." Prof. Franzese has championed the right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction, spurred legislative reform efforts to assure enforcement of habitability standards and end tenant blacklisting, and promotes fair, safe and affordable housing initiatives at the state and federal level.

Prof. Franzese has authored and contributed to numerous books, including Property and the Public Interest, Learning Core Commercial Law Concepts, Law and Class in America, The Affective Assistance of Counsel and Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Property. Her scholarship includes critical examination of the erosion of trust and community in housing development, the dilemma of privatization, homeowners associations, exclusionary zoning and takings law. She joined in the submission to the U.S. Supreme Court of an amicus brief in the Kelo case. She serves on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Land Use and Environmental Law Review. She is West Publishing's Legend of the Law on Property and the creator of the popular Short and Happy Guide series, which features more than twenty titles. She is the author of A Short and Happy Guide to Property, A Short and Happy Guide to Sales, A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student.

Prof. Franzese has spearheaded government ethics reform initiatives on behalf of three governors, serving as Special Ethics Counsel to Governor Richard J. Codey, Chair of the State Ethics Commission, Vice-Chair of the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions and as ethics advisor to various state and local governments, including U.S. Senator Cory Booker's mayoral administration in Newark, New Jersey. She received the National Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) Award, the highest honor conferred by the organization, in recognition 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." As Special Ethics Counsel, she and retired Justice Daniel J. O'Hern promulgated the Uniform Ethics Code, a pioneering statutory achievement that has become a model for national replication. She has published and presented on best practices for ethics reform and restoring the public trust. She serves as Chair of the State Commission on Professionalism.

Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, Prof. Franzese is the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Student Bar Association's Professor of the Year Award and in 2019 the award was renamed in her honor the Paula A. Franzese Professor of the Year Award. A recent Harvard University Press publication, (What the Best Law Teachers Do), names her “one of the 26 best law teachers in the United States” and profiles the pedagogical approach that renders her a "dazzlingly effective model of rigor, hard work, creativity and humility." Prof. Franzese draws on the science of learning for a pedagogical approach that fuses rigorous technique with humanism and empathy. She was named one of twenty Inspiring Women in Education by she knows media and has presented on education as a human right at the United Nations International Human Rights Summit, Youth for Human Rights. She 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 was named Faculty Teacher of the Year by Seton Hall University. She served as Distinguished Teaching and Learning Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College Of Law. and has presented to teachers throughout the country on the art and science of effective teaching. She is the national Property lecturer for the BAR/BRI bar review course, past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods and Vice-Chair of the Legal Education Section of the American Bar Association.

Committed to education reform and restoring civics teaching at all grade levels, 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 pioneered the cause of law-related education and mentoring initiatives as Past President of the Justice Resource Center and teaches civics, leadership and character to middle-school students.

Prof. Franzese is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the recipient of numerous awards, including the St.Thomas More Medal of Honor, the YWCA Woman of Influence Award, the Women Lawyers Association Trailblazer Award, the State Bar Foundation's Medal of Honor and Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Trailblazer Award and the Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid Medal, the University's highest honor.

Prof. Franzese received her B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (awarded at the conclusion of her junior year), and high honors 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, a Teaching Fellow, and the recipient of the Rosenman Prize for excellence in public law courses.Prof. Franzese was a litigator with Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, where she served as a member of the New York City Housing Court Reform Project. She clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.



An Inflection Point for Affordable Housing: The Promise of Inclusionary Mixed-Use Redevelopment, 52 UIC J. Marshall L. Rev. 581 (2020) (lead article)

Promises Still to Keep: The Fair Housing Act Fifty Years Later, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. 3 (2019) (with S. Beach)

A Place to Call Home: Tenant Blacklisting and the Denial of Opportunity, 45 Fordham Urban L. J. 661 (2018)

The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord Tenant Reform, 68 Rutgers L. Rev. 1 (2017)

The Power of Empathy in the Classroom, 47 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (2017)

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)

Does it Take A Village? Privatization, Patterns of Restrictiveness and the Demise of Community, 47 Villanova L. Rev. 553 (2002)


Housing and Hope: Private Property and Catholic Social Teachings, Christianity and Private Law, R. Cochran & M. Moreland, eds. (Forthcoming 2019) (with A. Carmella)

When Home Is Uninhabitable: Realizing Essential Tenant Safeguards in New Jersey Law, chapter in New Jersey Landlord Tenant Law, LexisNexis (2020)

A Short and Happy Guide to Sales, West Academic (2018)

Learning Core Commercial Law Concepts, with Epstein, Barnes & Tu (West, 2018)

Street Smarts for Women Lawyers, NYC Bar Press (2016) (Contributing Author)

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

Experiencing Property, West (2015)

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)

Law and Class in America, T. Jones, ed. (2009)

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)


Tenants Should Have the Right to Legal Representation Before Eviction, Star-Ledger Guest Columnist (April 2018)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Government Segregated Housing in America, New Jersey Law Journal (May 14th, 2018)

A Place to Call Home: Giving Voice to Tenants Left Behind, Axelrod Lecture, Rutgers Law School (2017)

Celebrating Our Love of the Law, New Jersey Law Journal (February 2017)

How to Stop Slumlords From Abusing Poor Tenants, Newark Star Ledger (February 2017)

The Virtue of the Work, Off the Record (March 2017)

Why Go to Law School, NJ Law Journal (October 30, 2017)

Bridgegate Is a Cancer on the Governorship, Star Ledger (November 6, 2016) (Op-Ed)

In Defense of Hope, New Jersey Law Journal (January 2016)

Less Than 1% of N.J. Tenants Know Their Rights. Fix It This Way, Star Ledger (October 18, 2016) (Op-Ed)

Stop Subsidizing Bad Landlords, Rooflines (November 2016)

Christie’s Pick Raises Concern: Ethics Commission Must Be Independent, Star Ledger (January 31, 2014) (Op-Ed)

NJ’s Ethics Group Must Find Its Way, Star Ledger (March 7, 2014) (Op-Ed)

Hopeful Signs of Good Government in New Jersey, Star Ledger (September 24, 2010)

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


Full list of presentations available in Curriculum Vitae

Elevating Tenants: Revolutionizing Tenant Protections, Symposium, 100 Years of Rent Control, Fordham Urban Law Journal (January 18, 2019)

The Call to Service: Honoring Dr. King's Legacy, Symposium on the Life and Legacy of Dr. King, Seton Hall University (January 21, 2019) (Presenter)

Barriers to Federal Housing Assistance, Sen. Cory's Booker's Public Housing Summit (September 10, 2018)

Beyond Reproach: Standard of Professionalism for Judges, New Judges Orientation (September 14, 2018)

Dismantling Structural Racism: Engaging Neighbors, Leaders, and Government, 2018 Anti-Poverty Summit (October 26, 2018)

Housing as a Human Right, St. Paul Lecture Series (May 2, 2018)

Housing Justice: A Women's Rights Issue, Rutgers Law School (April 9, 2018)

Housing Justice: A Women's Rights Issue, Rutgers Law School and Women's Rights Law Reporter Symposium (April 9, 2018) (Keynote)

The Color of Law: The Harsh Realities of De Facto and De Jure Discrimination in Housing, A Conversation with Richard Rothstein, Seton Hall Law School (May 16. 2018)

The Fair Housing Act 50 Years Later, Cardozo Law School Symposium (March 28, 2018)

A Place to Call Home: Affordable and Decent Housing as a Human Right, Under One Roof Annual Conference, New Brunswick, NJ (2017)

A Return to Civic Engagement, New Jersey Political Science Association Annual Meeting (April 2017) (Keynote)

Achieving Success and Significance: Guideposts for Attorney Professionalism, NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law Awards Luncheon (November 9, 2017) (Presenter)

Gender, the Law, and the 2016 Presidential Election, New Jersey State Bar Association (March 14, 2017)

Judicial Professionalism, Judicial College (November 20, 2017) (Presenter and moderator)

Life, Liberty and a Stable Home: A Conversation with Sen. Cory Booker and author Matthew Desmond, Drew University, Madison, NJ (October 12, 2017) (Moderator)

The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord-Tenant Reform, Axelrod Lecture, Rutgers Law School (March 24, 2017)

Applying First Principles of Robust Civility to Virtual Worlds, Gibbons Symposium on Law and Technology (October 2016) (Keynote)

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

The First Amendment in Perilous Times, The Annenburg Project Lecture Series on the Living Constitution, PBS (January 29, 2016)

Behind the Veil: What the Best Law Professors Do, Association of American Law School Annual Meeting (January 3, 2015)

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

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

Leading With Integrity, NJSBA Leadership Academy (September 11, 2015)

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

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

Teachers as Agents of Change, Rahway School District (September 2, 2015)

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

The Science of Professional Learning, Pace Law School Faculty Colloquium (February 4, 2015)

The Importance of Teachers, New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Conference for State Teachers (March 8, 2014)

Knowing Our Worth: Reframing and Reclaiming the Promise of Equality, NJ Women Lawyers' Association Convocation (November 1, 2013)

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

Prosecutorial Misconduct, The Hall Institute (February 22, 2012)

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

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

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

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

Home Foreclosure Crisis, CNN (October 8, 2010)