Meet the Faculty: Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Published: November 3rd, 2003

Category: News Briefs

David H. Levin Chair in Family Law; Professor ; Director, Center on Children and the Law; Director, Family Law Certificate Program; Co -Director, Institute for Child & Adolescent Research & Evaluation

View on the Profession

“I believe lawyers and legal scholars have a public mission that goes beyond the bottom line. When we begin to judge the importance of a case or a topic by the dollar amount of the claim or economic power of the clients, we will have lost our way. Families — especially children — may be resource poor clients, but they are deserving of equal justice nonetheless.

“There will always be a disconnect between the ideal of equal justice and the social reality, but we need to question why courts serving families and children carry the lion’s share of the civil caseload and receive a fraction of the resources, and why poor children of color are so grossly over represented in dependency and juvenile justice systems.

“At least I am in the right place at the right time, where I can make a difference and know that each of my students also will have a similar opportunity for service. I would far rather teach at a great public university where students graduate to serve a broad spectrum of clients than at a great private university where students are all headed for Wall Street.”


B.S., Regents College of University State of New York; J.D., Columbia University (Berger Prize, Stone Scholar, Comments Editor, Columbia Law Review); Diploma Superiore, Universita per Stranieri (Perugia, Italy).

Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York, Hon. Abraham D. Sofaer. Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, University of Pennsylvania. Executive Council, International Society of Family Law.

Widely published on topics concerning adoption, child welfare law, children’s rights, constitutional law, family law, the Supreme Court and the family, and child/parent and state. Member, Bar of the Supreme Court of the U.S., American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Association of American Law Schools (Program Chair of Women in Legal Education and Family and Juvenile Law Chair), American Society for Comparative Law (reporter, Family Law), Journal of Law, Psychology and Public Policy (editor); Family Court Review (editor).

What You May Not Know

“My personal best marathon time was Bangor, Maine, in 1980; my daughter’s pen name is ‘Chris Moriarty’ (author of sci fi novel Spin State); I live with my son, Ken, and husband, Charles, in Tigert-Barrow House, a restored mansion in the NE Historic District; and my favorite sport is sea kayaking.”

Tagged as: