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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 and feminist legal theory. Her research, scholarship, and teaching address reproductive justice, parentage, gender, sexualities, and public assistance for families.

Co-author of six editions of a family law casebook, Professor Appleton most recently published a new edition of a casebook entitled Families Under Construction: Parentage, Adoption and Assisted Reproduction (2d ed. 2021).  She has published extensively on family law matters and feminist legal theory in law reviews and scholarly collections. In 2021, she received the inaugural award for outstanding contributions and achievements in the field from the AALS Section on Family & Juvenile Law, and 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 and the Restatement of the Law of Children and the Law. She has lectured and presented papers across the U.S. and abroad, including in Rome, 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
    • Adoption and Assisted Reproduction
    • Regulating Sex: Historical and Cultural Encounters
    • Feminist Theories/Feminist Judgments (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
    • An Updated Pregnancy Audit for Family Law,” Walter O. Weyrauch Distinguished Lecture in Family Law, University of Florida College of Law, Feb. 16, 2023.
    • Co-organizer, Third & Fourth Annual Roundtables on Nonmarriage and the Law, Washington University School of Law, Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022.
    • 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.
    • Guttmacher Institute, Board of Directors, since 2019.
    • Planned Parenthood Great Rivers—MO (formerly Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region) Board of Directors, since 1997.
  • Honors and Awards
    • Inaugural award from the Section on Family & Juvenile Law of the Association of American Law Schools for outstanding contributions and achievements in the field, 2021.
    • 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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