Susan Frelich Appleton


Susan Frelich Appleton

Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law


A.B., 1970, Vassar College
J.D., 1973, University of California - Berkeley

Curriculum Vitae




Bev Owens- (314) 935-6482

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-6449


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 576

Courses Taught

Adoption & Assisted Reproduction
Criminal Law
Conflict of Laws
Family Law
Feminist Theories, Feminist Judgments (seminar)
Regulating Sex (interdisciplinary seminar)
Reproductive Control (seminar)


Susan Frelich Appleton, the Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, is a nationally known expert in family law. Her research, scholarship, and writings address such legal issues as adoption, reproductive rights, parentage, gender, and sexualities. She has co-authored a family law casebook, now in its sixth edition, as well as a casebook on adoption and assisted reproduction, and she has published extensively on family law matters in law reviews. A member of the American Law Institute (ALI), she serves as an adviser on two projects, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses and Restatement of the Law: Children & the Law. Previously, Professor Appleton held the office of Secretary of ALI (2004-13), sat on the ALI Council (beginning in 1993 and continuing now as a member emerita), and served as an adviser to the ALI’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution. She also served on the Board of Directors of the American Bar Foundation (2004-14) and worked as consultant to the New Jersey Bioethics Commission, assisting that agency in its recommendations for laws addressing surrogacy arrangements. Professor Appleton is a recipient of the law school’s Triennial Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award. She was the John S. Lehmann Research Professor in 2009–10 and held the Israel Treiman Faculty Fellowship during 2012-13. She is a prolific speaker and panelist on family law and related topics at workshops, conferences, and other venues, including UC Davis Law School, where she delivered the Brigitte Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law in March 2013; Fudan University in Shangai, where she spoke about feminism and family law at a conference on feminist jurisprudence in the US and Asia in May 2015; and the Radzyner Law School at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, in December 2015, when she taught a course on the Modern Law of Parentage as a Visiting Professor and presented a paper at a symposium on “Families-in-Law: Setting New Agendas.” At the law school, she served as vice dean (2013-14) and associate dean of faculty (1998-2003). In 2010-12, she served as Washington University’s first Ombuds, facilitating the informal resolution or management of faculty-related conflicts or concerns on the Danforth Campus. Before becoming a law professor, she clerked for law school alumnus, the Hon. William H. Webster, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Representative Publications


  • Modern Family Law: Cases and Materials (with D. Kelly Weisberg, Little Brown, Aspen Publishers, and Wolters Kluwer – multiple editions and supplements, including 6th edition, 2016)
  • Adoption and Assisted Reproduction: Families under Construction (casebook, with D. Kelly Weisberg, Aspen Publishers, 2009)

Recent Articles and Essays

  • "Obergefell’s Liberties: All in the Family" 77 Ohio State Law Journal 919 (2016) (invited contribution to colloquium on Obergefell v. Hodges) [SSRN] 
  • "The Joy of Sex Bureaucracy," (with Susan E. Stiritz) 7 California Law Review Online 49 (2016) (invited response to article entitled "The Sex Bureaucracy") [SSRN] 
  • "The Forgotten Family Law of Eisenstadt v. Baird." 28 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 1 (2016) [SSRN] 
  • "Going Wild: Law and Literature and Sex" (with Susan E. Stiritz), 69 Studies in Law, Politics and Society 11 (2016) (invited for special issure on feminist legal theory and peer reviewed) [Abstract] [Article]
  • "Between the Binaries: Exploring the Legal Boundaries of Nonanonymous Sperm Donation," 49 Family Law Quarterly 93 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "Surrogacy and Windsor’s Penumbras," 90 Washington Law Review Online 43 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "Leaving Home? Domicile, Family, and Gender," 47 UC Davis Law Review 1453 (2014) [SSRN]
  • "Restating Childhood," 79 Brooklyn Law Review 525 (2014) [SSRN]


  • Visiting Professor, "The Modern Law of Parentage," Radzyner Law School, the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel, December 2015


  • "Obergefell's Liberties," presentation selected from call for papers, Section on Family and Juvenile Law’s Panel on "Private vs. Public in Family Law," Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, New York, January 2016
  • "The Forgotten Family Law of Eisenstadt v. Baird," symposium on "Families-in Law: Setting New Agendas," Radzyner Law School, the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel, December 2015
  • "Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Family Law's Enduring Foundations," invited presentation at AALS Midyear Workshop on "Shifting Foundations: Family Law’s Response to Changing Families," panel on "Preparing Family Law for the Future," Orlando, June 2015
  • "How Feminism Changed American Family Law," invited presentation at conference on "Feminist Legal Theory: A Transpacific Dialogue," Fudan University, Shanghai, May 2015

American Law Institute:  

  • Member, since 1987
  • Member of the Council, 1994-2016 (continuing as emerita member)
  • Adviser, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses, since 2014
  • Adviser, Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law, since 2015
  • Members Consultative Group, Conflict of Laws, since 2015
  • Members Consultative Group, Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus: Procedural Frameworks and Analysis, since 2015