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Family Law

Family Law

Family law explores issues relating to families and domestic relationships. As the legal definition of a family changes, students will explore the creation, recognition, and dissolution of families, as well as child advocacy, elder law, and estates and trusts.

Interested in family law? Consider participating in the Chance at Childhood clinic, providing legal representation to children, advocating for their rights and best interests. The student-run Family Law Society also provides an opportunity to explore careers and community projects associated with family law.

Hannah Brenner

Lecturer in Law, Co-Director of the Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics & the Legal Profession, and Director of Externship Programs

Professor Brenner’s teaching focuses on issues of gender, domestic violence, and the intersections between gender and leadership in the legal profession. She has co-authored several articles on mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence.

Melane Jacobs

Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs and Professor of Law

Professor Jacobs shares her enthusiasm for family law with MSU Law students, showing them the broader relationship between law, policy, and culture. Bringing current events into the classroom helps her students see the relevance of abstract laws and policies.

Cynthia Lee Starnes

Professor of Law & The John F. Schaefer Chair in Matrimonial Law

Professor Starnes’ scholarship focuses on intersection of family law, partnership law, and feminist theory. She works with community groups to enact legal reform, and advises MSU Law’s Family Law Society.

Courses Credits
Alternative Dispute Resolution 2, 3
Basic Income Taxation* 2
Basic Will Drafting 3
Child Advocacy 2
Civil Trial Advocacy I or II 2 (each course)
Client Counseling 2-3
Comparative Family Law Seminar 2
Criminal Trial Advocacy I or II 2 (each course)
Decedents’ Estates & Trusts* 4
Directed Study 2, 3
Domestic Violence Seminar 2
Elder Law 2
Family Dissolution Seminar 2
Family Law I: Marriage & Divorce 3
Family Law II: Child, Family and the State 3
Juvenile Law 2
Matrimonial Practice* 3
Negotiation 2
Seminar in Law and Social Work 3

*These courses are strongly recommended for students who plan to practice divorce law.


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