Author: Solangel Maldonado


Introducing Guest Blogger Shavar Jeffries

I am delighted to welcome Shavar Jeffries who is an Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law.  Professor Jeffries’s work focuses on impact civil-rights scholarship, advocacy, and litigation, focusing on education and housing inequities affecting urban communities.  He has represented thousands of urban children in education-reform litigation, including children denied free, after-school tutoring services under the No Child Left Behind Act, and thousands of Newark children attending public-charter schools who were denied equitable instructional and facilities funding. Professor Jeffries has also represented individuals and community associations in a variety of housing cases, including tenants facing unlawful rent-increases in subsidized housing units, and individual victims of mortgage fraud and predatory lending.

From 2008 to 2010, Professor Jeffries took a leave from Seton Hall Law to serve as Counsel to New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. In that role, Professor Jeffries had oversight responsibility for several divisions of the office, including the Division on Civil Rights, the Juvenile Justice Commission, and the state’s multi-state litigation and advocacy portfolio. Professor Jeffries also managed a range of special initiatives, including the state’s mortgage-mediation program and several initiatives design to grant greater protection to domestic-violence victims.

Prior to joining Seton Hall in 2004, Professor Jeffries was a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Litigation at Gibbons P.C., where he worked on a variety of cases including matters involving special education, voting rights and affordable housing. Professor Jeffries also clerked for Nathaniel R. Jones, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and worked as an Associate at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, where he defended the University of Michigan in affirmative-action litigation challenging its admissions policies, and represented black farmers who for decades had been denied farming loans by the United States government because of their race.

Professor Jeffries, a Newark native, is extensively involved in the Newark community. He was the Founding Board President of TEAM Academy Charter School, the largest public charter school in New Jersey, and served as Board President from 2002 through 2007. From 2004 through 2007, Shavar was Board President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, which had a $700,000 deficit when he took over and which had three consecutive balanced budgets during his tenure. In April 2010, Shavar was elected to the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board, winning more votes than any school-board candidate in seven years. Shavar was then unanimously selected by his colleagues to serve as President of the board.

For his public-interest advocacy, Shavar has received numerous honors including the Garden State Bar’s Young Lawyer Award, the Greater Newark HUD Tenants Coalition’s Public Service Award, the Brendan Byrne Distinguished Public Servant Award, and recognition by the Newark Star-Ledger as a “Person Who Made a Difference” and by New Jersey Superlawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star.”

Professor Jeffries received his B.A. in History from Duke University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Paul Robeson Scholar, Jane Marks Murphy Prize recipient, Mitsubishi International Fellow, and Managing Editor of the COLUMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW.


Introducing Guest Blogger Craig Livermore

It is my pleasure to introduce Craig Livermore, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (“NJ LEEP”), as a guest blogger this month.  Craig holds a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in Religion and Mathematics, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.  In 2006, he founded NJ LEEP, in partnership with Seton Hall Law School, as a comprehensive and continuous pipeline diversity program for urban youth in grades eight through twelve interested in pursuing a legal career.

Craig is the founding board chair of Newark Legacy Charter School and is an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall Law School where he teaches a course on Race, Law and Education.  In addition to work on religion, ethics and public policy, Craig has published articles on urban educational management, and educational policy and its effects on racially equitable educational outcomes.

Recent Articles:

Racial Complexity and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, __ J. Civ. Rights & Econ. Dev. ___ (forthcoming 2011).

Obama, Racial and Political Complexity, and Hope for a Transformed Racial Order, Race-Talk J. Kir. Institute (Spring 2010), available at (scholarly e-essay).

 Centralized Standards and Decentralized Competition: Suggested Revisions for No Child Left Behind to Create Greater Educational Responsiveness Toward Disempowered Minority Groups, 33 Seton Hall Legis. J. 433 (2009).

 Unrelenting Expectations: A More Nuanced Understanding of the Broken Windows Theory of Cultural Management in Urban Education, University of Pennsylvania Grad School of Education Perspectives On Urban Education (2008), available at (peer reviewed on-line journal).

You can find Craig’s SSRN Page at


Introducing Guest Blogger Alicia Kelly

I am delighted to welcome Alicia Kelly who will be blogging with us this month.  Alicia is a tenured Associate Professor at Widener University School of Law in Delaware where she teaches Family Law, Property Law, Wills and Trusts and a seminar on Money, Intimacy & Law.  Her scholarship focuses on the intersections of economic behavior, intimate relationships and gender.  Her writing explores theoretical and policy foundations for wealth allocation during marriage and at divorce, with particular attention to the impact of interdependent sharing behavior on wealth generated by human capital.  Alicia is currently working on how these issues play out for cohabiting couples, as well as how they relate to intimate partner contracts.  She is also co-authoring (with Nancy Knauer) a Property Law text for the Practice and Context Series slated for publication in 2013 (by Carolina Acdemic Press).

Alicia is currently serving as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Family & Juvenile Law, and was Program Chair for the section panel, Money, Intimacy, Law & Inequality at the 2010 Annual Meeting. She is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Section on Women and Legal Education. 

This past spring 2010, Alicia was a Visiting Professor of Law at Temple University.  Before joining Widener, she was on the faculty at Western State University College of Law in California.  She holds an LL.M. in Legal Education from Temple University School of Law, where she was an Abraham L. Freedman Fellow and Lecturer of Law, and also earned her B.A. (magna cum laude) and her J.D.(cum laude) from Temple University. Before her law teaching career, Alicia was in private practice concentrating on complex domestic relations and general civil litigation. She is also a trained mediator.

Alicia’s publications include:

Money Matters in Marriage: Unmasking Interdependence in Ongoing Spousal Economic Relations, 47 Louisville L. Rev. 113 (2008).         

Rehabilitating Partnership Marriage As A Theory of Wealth Distribution at Divorce: In Recognition of A Shared Life, 19 Wis. Women’s L.J. 141 (2004) 

The Marital Partnership Pretense and Career Assets: The Ascendancy of Self Over the Marital Community, 81 Boston Univ. L. Rev. 59 (2001).


Bartering Legal Services for Sex

Sometimes I think that lawyers unfairly get a bad rap. Most lawyers work hard, comply with all of the ethical rules, and respect their clients. However, there are a few that repeatedly violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, hurting their clients and threatening the public’s trust in the legal profession. Unfortunately, they continue to practice law.

Imagine an attorney who has been admonished, reprimanded, and censured four times in a 6-year period for failing to communicate with clients and for recordkeeping violations, and who is later held ineligible to practice law for 15 months for failure to pay into the state’s Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection among other things.  Imagine that this attorney (who continues to practice law during this period of ineligibility) offers discounted fees to three female bankruptcy clients and to the daughter of another client in exchange for sexual favors. (He told the daughter of a bankruptcy client who could not afford his fee that he would forgive her father’s debt if she would meet him “in a hotel room for three hours.”)  You can read the rest of the stipulated facts here.

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Introducing Guest Blogger Meredith Johnson Harbach

I am so pleased to introduce Meredith Johnson Harbach as a guest blogger for the month of August.  Meredith is an Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, where she teaches Family Law, Children and the Law, and Civil Procedure. Her current scholarship explores the ways in which law influences families’ choices to “oursource” certain roles and work traditionally done by family members. She also brings to her scholarship and teaching a keen interest in pedagogy and Lawyering theory. Meredith joined Richmond in 2009 from New York University School of Law’s Lawyering Program, where she taught for four years and acted as the Program’s Associate Director for the last two. Prior to joining NYU in 2005, she was a litigator in Houston, Texas.

Meredith received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Afterward, she spent a year studying in Spain at the University of Salamanca as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.  She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was Executive Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. After graduation, she clerked for United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas in the Southern District of Texas.

Her most recent publication is:

Is the Family a Federal Question?, 66 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 131 (2009)

Welcome Meredith.


Introducing Guest Blogger Glenn Cohen

I am delighted to welcome Glenn Cohen who will be blogging with us this month.  Glenn is an assistant professor at Harvard Law School where he teaches bioethics, health law, and civil procedure. He is also co-director of the law school’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics.  His scholarship focuses on legal and ethical issues relating to reproductive technologies (and reproduction more generally), medical tourism (the travel of patients from one country to another country for the primary purpose of receiving health care), and other issues at the intersection of law, medicine and ethics. Prior to joining the faculty, Glenn served as a clerk to Chief Judge Michael Boudin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He also served as an appellate attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate staff, where he acted as lead counsel in over 12 Circuit Court cases, counsel in numerous others, and represented the United States in the U.S. Supreme Court in conjunction with the Solicitor General’s office. Immediately before joining the faculty he was a fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center.

His publications include:

The Constitution and the Rights Not to Procreate, 60 STANFORD L. REV. 1135 (2008)

The Right Not to Be a Genetic Parent?, 81 S. CAL. L. REV. 1115 (2008)

Intentional Diminishment, The Non-Identity Problem, and Legal Liability, 60 HASTINGS L. J. 347 (2008) (symposium)

Protecting Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Medical Tourism and the Patient-Protective Argument, 95 IOWA L. REV. __ (being published this month)

Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing IVF Decrease Adoption Rates and Should It Matter? 95 MINN. L. REV. ___ (forthcoming, December 2010) (co-authored with Daniel Chen)

Medical Tourism: The View from 10,000 Feet, 40 HASTINGS CTR. REP, March- April, 11 (2010)

He is currently working on set of papers relating to the reliance on what he calls “Best Interests of the Resulting Child (BIRC)” reasoning to justify the regulation of reproduction (in areas as diverse as the criminalization of incest, prohibitions on sperm donor anonymity prohibitions, restrictions on access to reproduction to those over age 50, etc) and the problems attached to that justification as well as to its possible substitutes.


Introducing Guest Mark Alexander

I am delighted to welcome Professor Mark C. Alexander as a guest blogger for the month of July.  Mark is a Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law where he teaches Constitutional Law, Law & Politics, Criminal Procedure, and The First Amendment.  His scholarship focuses on the intersection of law, politics and government, and on free speech issues.  Mark served as Senior Advisor to then Senator Barack Obama during the presidential campaign and on the Presidential Transition Team, reviewing the Federal Election Commission, as part of the Justice and Civil Rights Team.  He also served as General Counsel to Cory Booker and the Booker Team in the 2006 Newark Municipal elections and then for Newark in Transition, as Mayor Booker moved to assume the office.  Mark has significant international experience, including a year in Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship, where he taught American Law and Politics.  He has also taught in Italy and is a fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program.

Mark clerked for Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and was a litigator with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher before joining the Seton Hall Law faculty in 1996.  He received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University.  His publications include:

Let Them Do Their Jobs: The Compelling Government Interest in Protecting the Time of Candidates and Elected Officials, 37 Loy. U.-Chic. L.J. (2006)

Money in Political Campaigns and Modern Vote Dilution, 23 U. Minn. J.L. & Inequality 239 (2005)

Campaign Finance Reform: Central Meaning and a New Approach, 60 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. (June 2003)

He is currently working on a book, The Great Political Pivot, which examines the consequences going forward of the new wave of empowerment—manifested in the tea party, individual activists, and individual candidates across the country, on the left and right—that Obama for America unleashed when it challenged the political establishment.


Introducing Guest Blogger Tamara Relis

I am delighted to welcome Professor Tamara Relis as a guest blogger for the month of May.  Tamara is an Assistant Professor of Law at Touro Law School where she teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, International Human Rights Law and Global Conflict Resolution.   She is the author of Perceptions in Litigation and Mediation: Lawyers, Defendants, Plaintiffs and Gendered Parties (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009) and is currently working on her second book based on a large-scale four-year empirical study of formal courts and quasi-legal justice processing of international human rights violation cases of violence against women in India. She holds a Ph.D. in law and an LL.M. degree with Merit from the London School of Economics (specializing in procedural law) where she taught two LL.B courses. She also holds an LL.B. degree from the University of London.  She was the recipient of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for 2005/06, the British Academy’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for 2006/09, and a Columbia University (Provost’s Office) & London School of Economics Seed Fund Publishing Award.

Tamara’s other publications include:

International Human Rights and Southern Realities, ___ Human Rights Quarterly (forthcoming 2010)

Consequences of Power, 12 Harv. Negotiation L. Rev. 445 (2007)

It’s Not About the Money!: A Theory on Misconceptions of Plaintiffs’ Litigation Aims, 68 Pittsburgh L. Rev.  701 (2007)


Wrongful Adoption or Adopting Blindly?

I have been following the news stories about the Tennessee mother that put her adopted child on a plane (alone) back to Russia because she could no longer cope with his significant health and behavioral problems.  Although saddened by this case, I see a silver lining.  Maybe, Americans will finally see that international adoptions are not necessarily any less risky than domestic adoptions.  In an article published several years ago, I examined the reasons why many Americans prefer to adopt internationally as opposed to domestically.  I am not opposed to international adoptions and in fact, believe that the law should encourage more families to adopt, both domestically and internationally, so long as the adoption is in the particular child’s best interest.  However, I was puzzled that many families chose to adopt internationally despite the high financial costs ($20,000-$35,000), extensive delays, and bureaucracies in both the U.S. and the sending country.  One common response was that domestic adoptions were too risky—specifically, that foreign-born children had fewer health risks than the children available for adoption in the U.S., international adoptions were less likely than domestic adoptions to be disrupted, prospective parents would have a child in their home sooner, and the process was less expensive.   In the article, I summarized the literature debunking these myths.   Here, however, I would like to focus on only one—the belief that foreign-born children have fewer health risks than those available for adoption in the U.S.

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Will Latinos Check Black on the Census?

Last week, I noted that conceptions of race in Latin American are different from those commonly held in the U.S.  Since then, I have received many comments both on Concurring Opinions and offline and have listened to several programs and panels on the U.S. Census and Latinos.  In this post, I want to explore why Latinos, even those who were raised in the U.S. or have lived here most of their adult lives continue to reject U.S. conceptions of race.  After all, immigrants often adopt the norms of their new country after a relatively short period of time (a generation?) so why not adopt U.S. definitions of race?

Undoubtedly, one reason why Latinos reject U.S. definitions of race is prejudice against Blacks.  Some Latinos deny their African ancestry because they hold negative views about African-Americans.  This is illustrated in a public service video that seeks to encourage Latinos of African descent to identify as both Hispanic and Black on the 2010 Census.  In this video, a Latina grandmother rejects her grandson’s friends because she erroneously assumes that they are African-American when, actually, they are Latinos of African ancestry.

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