Paula A. Franzese

Visiting Professor

American Government & Politics

Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School

Professor Paula Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law, is one of the country's leading experts in property law, housing reform, and government ethics. Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, a recent book names Prof. Franzese one of 26 "best law teachers in the United States." The book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press), profiles in detail the pedagogical approach that renders her a "dazzlingly effective model of rigor, hard work, creativity and humility." She has been named one of twenty Inspiring Women in Education by sheknows media and has presented on education as a human right at the United Nations International Human Rights Summit, Youth for Human Rights and at various teaching summits and symposia across the country.

 The author of numerous books and publications, Prof. Franzese’s scholarship in the area of housing law includes critical examination of landlord tenant law, common interest communities, homeowners associations and the dilemma of privatization, the law of servitudes, exclusionary zoning, affordable housing, adverse possession doctrine and takings law, joining in the submission to the U.S. Supreme Court of an amicus brief in the Kelo case. Her empirical work on the plight of low-income tenants facing eviction has been widely cited, garnering national attention, and her recent scholarship shines a light on the crisis in safe and affordable housing,  spurring state and federal legislative reform efforts

Prof. Franzese has spearheaded ethics reform initiatives on behalf of three governors, serving as Special Ethics Counsel to Governor Richard J. Codey, Chair of the State Ethics Commission, Vice-Chair of the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions and as ethics advisor to state and local governments across the country, including Mayor Cory Booker's administration in Newark. She received the National Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) Award, the highest honor conferred by the organization, in recognition of her "significant, demonstrable and positive contributions to the fields of campaign finance, elections, ethics, freedom of information and lobbying over a significant period of time." Among her groundbreaking initiatives in those arenas, she and retired Justice Daniel J. O'Hern promulgated the Uniform Ethics Code, a pioneering statutory achievement and model for national replication. She has published extensively on the best practices for ethics reform of state and local governments. She serves as Chair of the State Commission on Professionalism. 

 Nationally recognized for her excellence in teaching, Prof. Franzese is the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Student Bar Association's Professor of the Year Award, has been named "Exemplary Teacher" by the American Association of Higher Education, was ranked the Top Law Professor in New Jersey by the New Jersey Law Journal and was named Faculty Teacher of the Year by Seton Hall University. Featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do, she has demonstrated and deconstructed her pedagogical expertise on teaching as both art and science at workshops and conferences across the country. She served as Distinguished Teaching and Learning Professor at the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law. Prof. Franzese is the Gilbert's "Legend of the Law" in Property (West) and the national Property and Secured Transactions lecturer for the BAR/BRI bar review course. She is the past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods and served as Vice-Chair of the Legal Education Section of the American Bar Association.

 Committed to education reform and civic engagement, Prof. Franzese serves on the Boards of Trustees of Mount St. Dominic Academy, St. Catherine of Siena School and the Community Health Law Project. She has pioneered the cause of law-related education and informed mentoring initiatives throughout the country as Past President of the Justice Resource Center. Her presentations on the importance of teachers have been showcased at teacher summits, leadership academies, bench-bar symposia and school district convocations. She established the Leadership Fellows Program at Seton Hall Law School and teaches civics, leadership and character to middle-school students. 

 Prof. Franzese is the author of Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Property (Aspen), a contributor to America's Second Gilded Age? Perspectives on Law and Class Differences (NYU Press), The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (Carolina Academic Press), and Reaction and Reform in New Jersey (Hall Institute). She co-authored Property Law and the Public Interest, which expansively explored the public interest dimensions of Property law. She serves on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Land Use and Environmental Law Review.

 Prof. Franzese is the creator of the Short and Happy Guide book series (West) and is the author of A Short and Happy Guide to Property (2d ed.), A Short and Happy Guide to Sales, A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student. Excerpts can be found at

 Prof. Franzese is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the recipient of numerous awards, including the St.Thomas More Medal of Honor, the YWCA Woman of Influence Award, the Women Lawyers Association Trailblazer Award, the State Bar Foundation's Medal of Honor and the Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid Medal, the University's highest honor.

 Prof. Franzese received her B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was awarded the Bryson Prize, Alpha Zeta Fellowship, Marion Churchill White Prize, Davidson-Foreman Foundation Award and Barnard Alumnae Fellowship, and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where she was an International Fellow, Teaching Fellow and recipient of the prestigious Rosenman Prize for excellence in public law courses.Prof. Franzese was a litigator with Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, where she served as a member of the New York City Housing Court Reform Project. She clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

In the News:

Paula Franzese named one of the top 26 law teachers in the United States in the newly published What the Best Law Teachers Do., "Hopeful signs of good government in New Jersey," September 24, 2010, "Law Professor's Research Spurs Federal Legislation," July 27, 2017

Academic Focus: 

Civil rights and civil liberties
First amendment law
Criminal law and procedure
Property and commercial law


Both courses are 50-student limited-enrollment lecture courses with a prerequisite of an introductory-level American politics course. The syllabi are on-line.

  • POLS BC 3254 First Amendment Values
  • POLS BC 3521 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties



The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord Tenant Reform68 Rutgers L. Rev. 1 (2016)

The Power of Empathy in the Classroom47 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (2016)

Empathic Teaching, Empathic Learning21 The Law Teacher 54 (2014)

Law Teaching for the Conceptual Age44 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (2014)

New Jersey Common Interest Communities: Predictors of Distress and an Agenda for Reform63 Rutgers L. Rev. 101 (2011)

Reclaiming the Promise of the Judicial Branch: Toward a More Meaningful Standard of Judicial Review as Applied to New York Eminent Domain Law38 Fordham Urban L.J. 1091 (2011)

The Twin Rivers Case: Of Homeowners Associations, Free Speech Rights and Privatized Mini-Governments5 Rutgers J. Law & Public Policy 4 (2008)

Trust and Community: The Common Interest Community as Metaphor and Paradox72 Univ. of Missouri L. Rev. 1110 (2007)

Privatization and Its Discontents: Common Interest Communities and the Rise of Government for the "Nice."37 The Urban Lawyer 335 (2005)

Restoring the Public Trust: An Agenda for Ethics Reform of State Government and a Proposed Model for New Jersey57 Rutgers L. Rev. 1175 (2005)

Solutions to the Crisis in Affordable Housing: A Proposed Model for New York City3 Rutgers J. of Law & Urban Policy 84 (2005) (Maria Anderson)



Street Smarts for Women LawyersNYC Bar Press (2016) (Contributing Author)

A Short and Happy Series (Twelve Titles)West (2015) (Creator and Editor)

Experiencing PropertyWest (2015)

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College StudentWest (2014)

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law StudentWest (2014)

Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching: PropertyAspen Publishing (2012)

A Short and Happy Guide to PropertyThomson (2011)

Property Law and the Public InterestThird Edition, Lexis (2007) (with Mandelker, Callies & Hylton)

Reaction and Reform in New JerseyHall Institute (2007) (Contributor, (with Justice Daniel J. O'Hern), Ethics Reform Recommendations for The Executive Branch of New Jersey Government)

The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law As a Healing ProfessionCarolina Academic Press(2006) (Contributor, Marjorie Silver, ed.)

Residential Privilege: The Advent of the Guarded Subdivision, to appear in America’s Second Gilded Age? Perspectives on Law and Class DifferencesNYU Press (2005) (Paul Carrington & Trina Jones, eds.)

The Law According to Skyboxes, (2005) (Contributor, Paul Carrington, ed.)

Legends of the Law on PropertyThomson (2003)



Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private GovernmentJ. of Regional Science (2012)



Bridgegate Is a Cancer on the GovernorshipStar Ledger (November 6, 2016) (Op-Ed)

Less Than 1% of N.J. Tenants Know Their Rights. Fix It This WayStar Ledger (October 18, 2016) (Op-Ed)

Christie’s Pick Raises Concern: Ethics Commission Must Be IndependentStar Ledger (January 31, 2014) (Op-Ed)

NJ’s Ethics Group Must Find Its WayStar Ledger (March 7, 2014) (Op-Ed)

Hopeful Signs of Good Government in New JerseyStar Ledger (September 24, 2010)

New Twin Rivers Test Applied to Homeowners Associations' Restrictions on Residents' Speech,LexisNexis 2007, Expert Commentaries Series



Landlord Tenant Reform in Crowded Housing MarketsProgressive Property Conference (May 13-14, 2016)

The First Amendment in Perilous TimesThe Annenburg Project Lecture Series on the Living Constitution, PBS(Jan. 29, 2016)

Behind the Veil: What the Best Law Professors DoAssociation of American Law School Annual Meeting(2015/01/03)

Empathic Teaching, Empathic LearningChicago-Kent Law School Faculty Colloquium (2015/03/12)

Evolving Standards of Civility and ProfessionalismNew Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting(2015/01/22)

Leading With IntegrityNJSBA Leadership Academy (2015/09/11)

Making It Stick: Empathic Teaching, Empathic LearningUniversity of Denver Sturm College of Law(2015/10/22)

Reclaiming the Public Trust: Ethics Reform in Troubling TimesNJ League of Women Voters, Princeton(2015/10/10)

Teachers as Agents of ChangeRahway School District (2015/09/02)

Teaching as Art and ScienceUniversity of Denver Sturm College of Law (2015/10/23)

The Science of Professional LearningPace Law School Faculty Colloquium (2015/02/04)

The Importance of TeachersNew Jersey State Bar Association Annual Conference for State Teachers(2014/03/08)

Knowing Our Worth: Reframing and Reclaiming the Promise of EqualityNJ Women Lawyers' Association Convocation (2013/11/01)

Prosecuting Public Corruption: Safeguards, Excesses and an Agenda for ReformCircuit Review Symposium, Seton Hall Law School (2012/03/13)

Prosecutorial MisconductThe Hall Institute (2012/02/22)

Attorney Professionalism and the Public TrustNew York State Bar Foundation (2011/02/25)

Eminent Domain: The NY ExperienceFordham Urban Law Journal Symposium (2011/02/11)

Ethics Reform and the Promise of Good GovernmentLeague of Municipalities keynote speaker (2010/11/18) (N.J. League of Municipalities 95th Annual Conference, Atlantic City, NJ)

Foreclosure Procedures in TurmoilNational Public Radio (2010/10/15)

Home Foreclosure CrisisCNN (2010/10/08)

Office Hours: 

Spring 2019 Office Hours:

Tuesday 6:00-7:00pm 



J.D. Columbia University School of Law, 1983

B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (junior year), Barnard College, 1980

Related Web Sites: 

Seton Hall Law School