Paula Franzese

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Paula Ann Franzese
Paula Franzese Prof Paula hr--Professor Franzese owns this work and has specifically requested that it is uploaded.jpg
Born Paula Ann Franzese
United States
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation legal scholar, author, educator
Awards "Exemplary teacher"[1][2]

Paula Ann Franzese is an American legal scholar based in New Jersey who focuses on government ethics[3] and property law.[4] She is an award-winning educator named one of the 26 best law teachers in the United States[5] [1][2] and her teaching is described as a "dazzingly effective model of rigor, hard work, creativity, and humility."[6] She is a prominent advocate for government ethics reform,[7] spokesperson for legal education,[4][8][9] housing advocate,[10] chairwoman on the New Jersey ethics commission, and author.[8] She is the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law in the Seton Hall University School of Law[3] where she created and directs the Leadership Fellows Program[11]. Paula was the featured speaker at the 2017 Axelrod Lecture.[12]

Early career[edit]

Franzese graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, Columbia University.[13] She became a member of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School, and won several academic prizes, including the Rosenman prize for excellence in public law courses.[13] “She worked as a litigator with Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York City, where she worked with First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams and served as a member of the New York City Housing Court reform project. She clerked for New Jersey Supreme Court justice Alan B. Handler. She became a professor of law at Seton Hall Law School in 1986, where she is the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law.[14]


Building at Seton Hall's school of law in Newark, New Jersey.

Franzese is acknowledged as an authority on two aspects of law: government ethics and property law.[15][16] Her scholarship focuses on these two main areas. Her research into property law includes landlord-tenant reform,[10][17] common interest communities including homeowners boards,[18][19] affordable housing, including a legal analysis of the Mount Laurel doctrine.[20] She published in legal journals and books including America’s Second Gilded Age? Perspectives on Law and Class Differences, NYU Press (Paul Carrington & Trina Jones, eds.), The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession, Carolina Academic Press (Marjorie Silver, ed.), and Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching: Property, Aspen Publishing. In addition to her scholarship, Franzese wrote two general-purpose guidebooks for students, including A Short & Happy Guide To Being A College Student and A Short & Happy Guide To Being A Law Student.[21][22]

Franzese has championed the right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction,[23] spearheaded legislative reform efforts to end tenant blacklisting, [24] presented to the United Nations International Summit on Human Rights, Youth for Human Rights [25] on education and housing as human rights and moderated fair housing programs with Pulitzer-prize winning author of Evicted Matthew Desmond and housing advocates on assuring a place to call home for all. [26]

A leading ethicist, she is chair of the NJ State Bar Association Commission on Professionalism[27], served as Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions[28],  and as Special Ethics Counsel to Gov. Richard J. Codey[29].

Law school educator[edit]

Franzese taught law at different types of schools, most notably at Seton Hall Law School, where she is the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law and Director of the Leadership Fellows Program. She is featured as one of only 26 best law teachers in the book What the Best Law Teachers Do[30].  She was named one of twenty Inspiring Women in Education by she knows media.[31]  She also lectured for ten years at BarBri, a bar-exam preparation firm, serving as its national lecturer on property law.[1][32] She taught a course to middle schoolers at the St. Catherine of Siena School entitled Civics, Character and Leadership.[8][33] She has presented keynote addresses and moderated panels discussing such issues as effective leadership[34], legal ethics[35], fair housing[36], attorney professionalism[37], government and the public trust[38] and microaggression.[39] In legal education, she advocated that law professors emphasize a "conceptual, contextual and empathetic understanding".[4] Her philosophy of education is optimistic,[21] and she encourages law students to have empathy with others as a way of better understanding the law and becoming more effective lawyers.[2] She has written on the benefits of a law degree and reasons to go to law school. [40] She said:

Can we make real the promise of renewed optimism? I answer with a resounding yes. No matter how seemingly humble or modest our circumstances, we each have the capacity to do the work of the angels on earth and to close the gap between what is and what ought to be. Cynicism, wrote Phillip Van Munching, is a belief in nothing.

— Franzese, 2010[8]

Particularly when there is so much to do, and it sometimes feels that we push that boulder up the mountain only to have it tumble down again, I remain mindful of Camus' choice to interpret the myth of Sisyphus through a lens of hope. Camus writes that while some might see only futility in the task at hand, he chooses instead to see the nobility of the very effort. He notes, "The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

— Franzese, 2017[41]

Lawyers are justice's emissaries. Our work can be the antidote to hopelessness and can restore agency to communities and constituencies that have been marginalized and worse. The pernicious effects of de jure and de facto discrimination continue to be felt. There is a growing chasm between what is and what ought to be in contexts that include safe and affordable housing, the environment, criminal justice, education, immigration, privacy rights, freedom of expression and more. Law school provides the training and professional and social capital to do the work to narrow that gap. No matter the naysayers and outliers, the legal profession is esteemed and noble. The good lawyer is an exemplar, able to show the face of justice pursued.

— Franzese, 2017[42]

Perhaps the greatest power of empathy in the classroom is that it reminds our students that the burdens of their own struggles do not relieve them of the responsibility to see and to acknowledge others in theirs. Honing our students’ empathic acuities helps to shape their emerging sense of professional identity so that it includes the capacity to bear benevolent witness to the suffering of others. Enriched by an understanding of the narratives and personal impacts of problems, our students become better equipped to solve them.

— Franzese, 2017[43]

Prof. Franzese has shared wisdom with Columbia University students,[44] has written about the promise of the law as an instrument for social justice in the New Jersey Law Journal,[45] has received national renown for her groundbreaking scholarship on the struggles of indigent tenants[46] and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2017 Justice Marie Garibaldi Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence. Her research and recommendations have been used by legislatures to formulate key ethics reform legislation[47] and legislation to help level the playing field between landlords and tenants.[48]

Franzese won Seton Hall Law School's teaching award at least ten times.[49][1] She was named one of the best law teachers in the United States and featured in the book by Harvard University Press entitled What the Best Law Teachers Do.[2] Legal educator Richard C. Reuben described Franzese as having "warmth, kindness and a genuine sense of interest" in people.[1]

Ethics and reform advocacy[edit]

Franzese is an advocate of ethics reform.[7] She served with three governors of New Jersey on ethics-related commissions, including for governors Richard Codey and Jon Corzine. Her ethics reform work led to the promulgation of major legislative reform, including promulgation of the Uniform Ethics Code.

In 2014 and later in 2016, she criticized the administration of New Jersey governor Christie in that officials conflated their official duties with campaign efforts.[15][50]

The public trust is betrayed by the perception that official power would be wielded as a sort of quid pro quo in the attempt to secure support for the governor's reelection bid.

— Franzese, commenting in 2014 on the Fort Lee lane closure scandal.[15]

Bridgegate represents another shameful chapter in New Jersey's beleaguered story of governmental corruption.

— Franzese, commenting in 2016 on the Fort Lee lane closure scandal.[51]

In 2011, Franzese received the COGEL Award, the National Council on Government Ethics Law's highest honor.[52]

In 2007, Franzese argued that the profession should work harder towards defining itself positively.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Franzese has two children.[8]


  • A Short & Happy Guide To Being A College Student[21][53]
  • A Short & Happy Guide To Being A Law Student.[21]
  • Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Property, Aspen publishers.
  • Legend of the Law, Gilbert series, in property law, Harcourt Brace, 1996.
  • Audiotape and CD course on property law, Thomson, 2003.
  • Property Law and the Public Interest, Lexis Nexis, 2003, with Callies, Mandelker & Hylton
  • The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord Tenant Reform, 68 Rutgers Law Review 1, 2016.
  • The Power of Empathy in the Classroom, 47 Seton Hall Law Review 693, 2017.


  1. ^ a b c d e Richard C. Reuben, Journal of Legal Education, Volume 61, Number 4 (May 2012)Bringing Mindfulness into the Classroom: A Personal Journey, Accessed July 4, 2014, (see page 674+) "Franzese...respected property casebook author and scholar, a leader in the AALS Section on Teaching Methods, a star on the Bar Bri circuit, ... seven-time winner of Seton Hall’s teaching award...
  2. ^ a b c d 2013, Harvard College (publisher), authors of book => Michael Schwartz, Gerald F. Hess, Sophie M. Sparrow, What the Best Law Teachers Do, Accessed July 4, 2014, (chosen among the 26 best law school teachers in the nation) -- see opening methodology in book
  3. ^ a b Adubato, Steve (June 22, 2015). "Which Gifts to Politicians Are Legal?". Retrieved October 4, 2015. ...aula Franzese, Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School, breaks down the letter and intent of the law as it relates to public officials accepting gifts while in office, ... 
  4. ^ a b c JACOB GERSHMAN, May 21, 2013, The Wall Street Journal, Are Law Schools Neglecting Half of the Brain?, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...Paula A. Franzese, a property and government ethics professor...."
  5. ^ "What The Best Law Teachers Do". 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-08.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ "Paula Franzese". Seton Hall Law. 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  7. ^ a b Bill Ward, April 18, 2006, New Jersey Eminent Domain Law, Eminent Domain: Viewing N.J.'s ethical landscape, Accessed July 4, 2014, "..."In a state where news of public corruption seems to be never ending, can we ever make real the promise of ethics reform?" - Paula A. Franzese, Chair of the State Ethics Commission..."
  8. ^ a b c d e JIM DAVIDSON, 2010, Cleveland Daily Banner, Have we become an ‘uninspired’ people?, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...a fantastic lady .... Paula Franzese ..."
  9. ^ a b Paula A. Franzese, December 2007, New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, No. 249, The Good Lawyer: Finding Meaning Through Service, Accessed July 4, 2014, Chapter by Paula Franzese, (see page 37 onwards) "...We must take care, then, in defining our profession and our place in it...."
  10. ^ a b "Less than 1% of N.J. tenants know their rights". 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  12. ^ "2017 Axelrod Lecture: "A Place to Call Home: Giving Voice to Tenants Left Behind"". Rutgers. 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  13. ^ a b Martindale Hubbell, Profile, Accessed July 4, 2014, "Peter Rodino Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, ... Areas of Focus: Property; Commercial Law ... University: Columbia University, B.A.; Law School: Columbia University, J.D.; Born New York, New York..."
  14. ^ "Paula Franzese". Seton Hall. 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  15. ^ a b c Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau, May 13, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer, Did Christie office cross the line between campaign and government?, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...conflation of official duties and campaign efforts is problematic..."
  16. ^ March 16, 2014, MSNBC, Keystone battle highlights landowner issue: The battles over the Keystone Pipeline have highlighted what is an issue that impacts landowners all across our country. Karen Finney talks with Texas farm owner Julia Trigg Crawford and Seton Hall law professor Paula Franzese, Accessed July 4, 2014
  17. ^ "How to stop slumlords from abusing poor tenants". 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  18. ^ MANSNERUS, LAURA (March 12, 2006). "Chalk One Up for Homeowners". New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2015. ...homeowners board... one state ... treat these councils like real governments... "This is the hottest, most-litigious field now in property law," said Prof. Paula Franzese... 
  19. ^ Paula Franzese, August 8, 2011, Rutgers Law Review, NEW JERSEY COMMON INTEREST COMMUNITIES: PREDICTORS OF DISTRESS AND AN AGENDA FOR REFORM, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...homeowners associations and the dilemma of privatization, the law of servitudes, exclusionary zoning, affordable housing, adverse possession doctrine and takings law. ..."
  20. ^ Paula Franzese, Volume 19, 1991, Fordham Law Review, Mount Laurel and the Fair Housing Act: Success or Failure? A Presentation by the Affordable Housing Colloquium of the Seton Hall University Center for Social Justice with an Introduction and Commentary by Paula A. Franzese, Accessed July 4, 2014, ".. concerning affordable housing. This article explores the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the Mount Laurel doctrine, ...."
  21. ^ a b c d March 16, 2014, CBS News, Mom, Professor Pens Books About Going Off To College, Law School, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...Paula Franzese..."
  22. ^ MAIA BIX, March 5, 2014, Columbia Spectator, Barnard professor writes two books giving advice to college students, Accessed July 4, 2014
  23. ^ "Why N.J. should provide low-income tenants facing eviction free legal help". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  24. ^ "Law Professor's Research Spurs Federal Legislation". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  25. ^ "Law Professor Paula Franzese Presents at UN Human Rights Summit". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  26. ^ "Join NJ Eviction Expert Professor Paula Franzese for the Oct 12 #EvictionNJForum at Drew University". Monarch Housing Associates. 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-07. 
  27. ^ "New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law". NJSBA. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  28. ^ "Social Committee On Attorney Ethics and Admissions" (PDF). 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  29. ^ "Report of the special ethics counsel to the Governor of the state of New Jersey : ethics reform recommendations for the executive branch of New Jersey government / Special Counsel for Ethics Review and Compliance". New Jersey State Library. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  30. ^ What the Best Law Teachers Do. 
  31. ^ Kirsch, Melissa (2015-10-01). "20 Inspiring women who are transforming the way kids learn". SheKnows. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  32. ^ YILU ZHAO, June 27, 2001, The New York Times, For Exam, Recollection Is Nine-Tenths of the Law, Accessed July 4, 2014, "...confronted by a single instructor, Paula Franzese, who has lectured for 10 years for Bar/Bri, the country's largest bar exam preparation company...."
  33. ^ Mazzola, Jessica (November 12, 2014). "Seton Hall law professor inspires as volunteer teacher at Cedar Grove middle school". Retrieved October 4, 2015. ...she's an award-winning law professor... named one of the best law professors in the country, the Vice Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions ... ethics advisor ...middle school students in Cedar Grove get to learn from her.... 
  34. ^ "Women Rule! : New Jersey Women Lawyers Association". New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  35. ^ "Paula Franzese Archives". Genova Burns. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  36. ^ "Public Policy Forum at Drew Tackles Eviction Crisis". Drew. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  37. ^ "Paula Franzese Archives". Genova Burns. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  38. ^ "Chair of the New Jersey State Ethics Commission Paula A. Franzese to Speak on Government Ethics Reform on March 31". Business Wire. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  39. ^ ABA (June 11, 2015). "Micro-Aggressions from the Boardroom, Courtroom, to the Presidential Campaign Trail". American Bar Association. Retrieved October 4, 2015. ...Paula Franzese ... moderated a panel ... explored ... micro-aggressions ... verbal and nonverbal behaviors that communicate negative hostile and derogatory messages ... 
  40. ^ "Why Go to Law School?". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-07. 
  41. ^ "The Virtue of the Work". 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  42. ^ "Why Go to Law School?". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  43. ^ "The Power of Empathy in the Classroom". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  44. ^ "You are not your grades, and other wisdoms". Columbia Spectator. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  45. ^ "Celebrating our Love of the Law". New Jersey Law Journal. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  46. ^ "Stop Subsidizing Bad Landlords". RoofLines. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  47. ^ "Tenants' Rights Professor Tells Students to be Advocates for the Disenfranchised". Rutgers. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  48. ^ "Law Professor's Research Turned into Legislation, Featured by NPR, BBC and Star Ledger". Seton Hall University. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  49. ^ "Paula Franzese". Seton Hall Law. 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  50. ^ Paula A. Franzese, January 31, 2014, Star-Ledger, Christie's pick raises concern: Ethics Commission must be independent (Opinion), Accessed July 4, 2014, "...The present crisis enveloping the governor’s office ... affords the opportunity to reclaim the promise of the sweeping ethics reforms..."
  51. ^ "Bridgegate is a cancer on the governorship". 2016. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  52. ^ "2011 COGEL Award Paula Franzese Delivered by COGEL Officer and Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, Nedda Massar" (PDF). Seton Hall Law. 2011. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  53. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (May 10, 2015). "'Short & Happy' advice from a Cedar Grove mom". Star-Ledger. Retrieved October 3, 2015. ...she wrote "A Short & Happy Guide to Being a College Student" (West Academic Publishing, 248 pp., $17), a... 

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