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Paula Franzese   

Paula Franzese

Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

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

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

  • Property, Commercial Law Survey, First Amendment Values, Leadership, Ethics, and Decision-Making

    Director, Leadership Fellows Program

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Professor Paula Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law, is one of the country's leading experts in property law, housing reform, and government ethics. Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, a recent book names Prof. Franzese one of 26 "best law teachers in the United States." The book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press), profiles in detail the pedagogical approach that renders her a "dazzlingly effective model of rigor, hard work, creativity and humility." She has been named one of twenty Inspiring Women in Education by sheknows media and has presented on both housing as a human right and education as a human right at the United Nations International Human Rights Summit, Youth for Human Rights and at various teaching summits and symposia across the country.

The author of numerous books and publications, Prof. Franzese’s scholarship in the area of housing law includes critical examination of landlord tenant law, common interest communities, homeowners associations and the dilemma of privatization, the law of servitudes, exclusionary zoning, affordable housing, adverse possession doctrine and takings law, joining in the submission to the U.S. Supreme Court of an amicus brief in the Kelo case.

Prof. Franzese's empirical work on the plight of low-income tenants facing eviction has been widely cited, garnering national attention, and her recent scholarship shines a light on the crisis in safe and affordable housing, spurring state and federal legislative reform efforts.

Prof. Franzese has championed the right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction, spurred legislative reform efforts to end tenant blacklisting, and moderated fair housing programs with Pulitzer-prize winning author of Evicted Matthew Desmond and housing advocates.

Prof. Franzese has spearheaded 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 state and local governments across the country, 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." Among her groundbreaking initiatives in those arenas, she and retired Justice Daniel J. O'Hern promulgated the Uniform Ethics Code, a pioneering statutory achievement and model for national replication. She has published extensively on the best practices for ethics reform of state and local governments. She serves as Chair of the State Commission on Professionalism.

Deemed West Academic Publishing's Legend of the Law on Property, Prof. 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 was named Faculty Teacher of the Year by Seton Hall University. Featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do, she has demonstrated and deconstructed her pedagogical expertise on teaching as both art and science at workshops and conferences across the country. She served as Distinguished Teaching and Learning Professor at the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law. Prof. Franzese is the Gilbert's "Legend of the Law" in Property (West) and the national Property and Secured Transactions 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 served as Vice-Chair of the Legal Education Section of the American Bar Association. Prof. Franzese has written on the benefits of a law degree and reasons to go to law school.

Committed to education reform and civic engagement, 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 summits, leadership academies, bench-bar symposia and school district convocations. She established the Leadership Fellows Program at Seton Hall Law School and teaches civics, leadership and character to middle-school students.

Prof. Franzese is the author of Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Property (Aspen), a contributor to 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, which expansively explored the public interest dimensions of Property law. She serves on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Land Use and Environmental Law Review.

Prof. Franzese is the creator of the Short and Happy Guide book series (West) and is the author of A Short and Happy Guide to Property (2d ed.), 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. Excerpts can be found at

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 the Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid Medal, the University's highest honor.

Prof. Franzese 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.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.



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

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

Learning Core Commercial Law Concepts: Course Materials, 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)

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)


Promises Still to Keep: The Fair Housing Act Fifty Years Later, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. (Forthcoming 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)


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

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)