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Susan Frelich Appleton

Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law

Susan Frelich Appleton, the Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, is a nationally known expert in family law. Her research, scholarship, and teaching address such legal issues as adoption, reproductive justice, 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 and scholarly collections. In 2018, she received a Dukeminier Award from UCLA’s Williams Institute, which recognizes the best publications on sexual orientation and gender identity law. An active member of the American Law Institute (ALI), she held the position of Secretary of the Institute (2004-13), has served on its Council (since 1994), and participates as an Adviser on several ALI projects, including the revision of the Model Penal Code’s provisions on sexual assault. She has lectured and presented papers across the U.S. and abroad, including in Berlin, Prague, Padua, Herzliya (Israel), and Shanghai.

Professor Appleton has received Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the law school’s Triennial Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. 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.

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  • Education
    • A.B., Vassar College, 1970
    • J.D., University of California – Berkeley, 1973
  • Courses
    • Family Law
    • Regulating Sex: Historical and Cultural Encounters in the Social Justice & Legal Theory
    • Feminist Theories/Feminist Judgements (seminar)
    • Conflict of Laws
  • Areas of Expertise
    • Family law
    • Sexualities
    • Reproductive justice
    • Parentage
    • Adoption
    • Assisted reproduction
    • Gender
    • Feminist jurisprudence
    • Nontraditional families
    • Government support for families in need
  • Publications

    SSRN Author’s Page

    Selected forthcoming and recent publications:

  • Activity and Affiliations
    • Co-organizer, Multidisciplinary Conference on “The Developing Brain: New Directions in Science, Policy, and Law,” Washington University School of Medicine, Sept. 26, 2017.
    • American Law Institute, member since 1987; Council, 1994-2016 (now emerita); Secretary, 2004-2013; Chair, Governance Committee, 2013-2016; Development Committee, since 2012; Executive Committee, 2004-2013; Nominating Committee, 2001-2013; Co-Chair, Inaugural Life Members’ Class Gift, 2011-2012; Adviser, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault, since 2015; Adviser, Children & the Law, since 2015; Members Consultative Group, Conflict of Laws, since 2015; Members Consultative Group, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities, since 2015; Adviser, Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, 1994-2000
  • Honors and Awards
    • Awards Journal
    • Dukeminier Prize from the Williams Institute at UCLA for scholarly contribution to sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy, 2018.
    • Israel Treiman Faculty Fellowship for 2012-2013.
    • John S. Lehmann Research Professorship for 2009-2010.
    • Triennial Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, Washington University School of Law, 2004.
    • MICDS Laurel Award (distinguished alumna award), 2004.
    • Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professorship, 2000 (inaugural recipient).
    • Distinguished Faculty Award, Washington University Founders Day, 1993.
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