Paula Franzese

Professor Paula Franzese

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

Professor Paula A. Franzese is the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law and Director of the Leadership Fellows Program. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (awarded in her junior year), with 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. She received 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.

Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, she is the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Student Bar Association's Professor of the Year Award. In 2019 the award was renamed in her honor the Paula A. Franzese Professor of the Year Award. A 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." In 2020, she was named one of the Top Women in Law by the New Jersey Law Journal.

Prof. Franzese 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 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 pioneered the cause of law-related education and mentoring initiatives during her tenure as President of the Justice Resource Center. She teaches civics, leadership, and character to middle-school and high school students.

A leading scholar in property law, fair housing, and government ethics, 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 aimed at rendering complex subject matter both accessible and understandable. 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 other volumes.

Her empirical work on the plight of low-income tenants facing eviction has been widely cited, garnering national attention. 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.

She 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 spearheaded government ethics reform initiatives on behalf of two governors, serving as Special Ethics Counsel to Governor Richard J. Codey, Chair of the State Ethics Commission, Chair of the State Commission on Professionalism, 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.

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 Sir 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, the Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Trailblazer Award and the Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid Medal, the University's highest honor.

She served as a litigator with Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, where she was appointed to the New York City Housing Court Reform Project. She clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.



The Evolution of Inclusion: the Mount Laurel Doctrine at Fifty, 48 Nova Law Review  261 (2024).

The Lawyer-Hero: Lessons in Leadership for Lawyers from Watergate to the Present Day, 54 University of Toledo Law Review 359 (2023) (Lead Article)

Disrupting Dispossession: How the Right to Counsel in Landlord-Tenant Proceedings Is Reshaping Outcomes, 52 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1255 (2022) (Lead Article, Symposium Issue, American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform)

The Anatomy of Government Ethics Reform: Lessons Learned, A Path Forward, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy (2021)

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)


Learning Core Commercial Law Concepts, with Epstein, Barnes & Tu (West, 2d ed., 2022)

Housing and Hope: Private Property and Catholic Social Teachings, Christianity and Private Law, (R. Cochran & M. Moreland, eds.) (2021) (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)

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)

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

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)



There’ll Be a Tragic Wave of Evictions Unless Legislatures Act Soon, (June 26, 2020)

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

How Experienced Faculty Can Renew Their Passion for Teaching, Scholarship, and Service, AALS webinar (October 20, 2022) (with Erwin Chemerinsky)

The Future of the Judiciary, PBS State of Affairs (September 20, 2022)

Government Ethics at the Crossroads: Toward Restoring the Public Trust, Symposium on The Ethics of Government Service, Notre Dame Law School (Feb. 12, 2021)

The Future of Opportunity Zones: The Biden Administration and Beyond, Fordham Urban Law Journal Symposium (Feb. 26, 2021)

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)

A Safe Place to Call Home: A Conversation with Sen. Cory Booker and author Matthew Desmond, Drew University (2018)

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)

Core Tenets of Judicial Professionalism, Judicial College (2018) (Keynote)

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

Fair Housing as a Human Right, Under One Roof, Annual Conference (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)

The Power of Empathy in the Classroom, Pace Law School Faculty Colloquium (2017)

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

Building Bridges, Advancing Aims of Equity in Education, New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Conference for State Teachers (2016) (Keynote)

Engaging the Whole Class, Chicago-Kent Law School Faculty Colloquium (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)

Making Real the Promise of Housing Justice: Giving Voice to Tenants Left Behind, Axelrod Lecture, Rutgers Law School (2015) (Keynote)

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

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

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

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, NJ 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)