Family, Gender, & Sexuality

Seeking Equality

Legal issues concerning family, gender, and sexuality are among the key concerns of our time, and the Law School has a strong tradition of leadership in these important areas. NYU Law admitted women in 1890, decades before many other law schools, and was the first law school to exclude campus recruiters representing employers that discriminated based on sexual orientation. Today, NYU Law has a core group of faculty with expertise in these issues.

Peggy Cooper Davis, a former family court judge, teaches Family Law, which examines federal and state laws concerning familial relationships and the policies and principles that undergird them. Martin Guggenheim ’71, one of the nation’s foremost experts on children’s rights and family law, leads a course on Child, Parent, and State, which focuses on the legal rights, responsibilities, and disabilities of parents and children in the American legal system. Kenji Yoshino, author of Speak Now: Marriage Equality On Trial and Covering, leads a seminar on Diversity and Inclusion, focusing mostly on the US workplace. David Richards is the author of Why Love Leads to Justice: Love Across the Boundaries, and Carol Gilligan is the author of the ground-breaking feminist text In A Different Voice. Together, they teach Resisting Injustice, a class that considers the coincidence of sexual liberation and ethical protest in the 1960s, focusing on the civil rights and anti-war movements, second wave feminism, and gay rights. Melissa Murray’s research focuses on the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the marriage equality debate, the legal recognition of caregiving, and reproductive rights and justice.

Students also have the option of enrolling in clinics to get a first-hand experience of legal advocacy. Clinics offered in this area include the Children’s Rights Clinic, the Family Defense Clinic, the LGBTQ Rights Clinic, and the Reproductive Justice Clinic.

Outside of the classroom, students can also round out their study with student groups such as OUTLaw and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. NYU Law’s centers also highlight issues pertaining to family, gender, and sexuality throughout the year with a wide range of events and lectures.