Paula A. Franzese

Visiting Professor

American Government & Politics

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

Paula A. Franzese received her B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (junior year), from Barnard College 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. She was a litigator with Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, where she also served as a member of the Housing Court Reform Project and the Governor's Task Force on Life and Law. The Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School, Prof. Franzese is one of the nation's leading experts on property law as well as government ethics. She has spearheaded ethics reform initiatives on behalf of three governors, serving as Special Ethics Counsel to Governor Richard Codey, Chair of the State Ethics Commission, Vice-Chair of the Election Law Enforcement Commission and as ethics advisor to state and local governments across the country, including Mayor Cory Booker's administration in Newark.

Nationally renowned for her excellence in law teaching, a new book (What the Best Law Teachers Do) names Prof. Franzese one of only 26 “best law teachers in the U.S.” She has received the Professor of the Year Award an unprecedented ten times,  been named an Exemplary Teacher by the American Association of Higher Education and is the recipient of numerous honors including the Sir Thomas More Medal, the McQuaid Medal, the YWCA Woman of Influence Award and the coveted Council on Governmental Ethics Law (COGEL) Prize.

Prof. Franzese’s prolific scholarship includes critical examination of privatization, affordable housing, exclusionary zoning, homeowners associations and eminent domain. She joined in the submission to the U.S. Supreme Court of an amicus brief in the Kelo Case, and has written and presented on takings law reform. She is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

The creator of the acclaimed Short and Happy Guide series (West Publishing), Prof. Franzese is the author most recently of A Short and Happy Guide to Property (2d ed.), A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a College Student, excerpts of which can be found at

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

Current Experience and Activities:

  • Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School, Newark, New Jersey, 1986-present. 
    Teaching Property and Commercial Law.
  • Founder and Director, New Jersey Mentor Program, 1987-present. 
    Mentor pairs inner-city high schools with law firms, public sector law offices and Seton Hall Law School in order to provide young people with access to role models within the legal profession as well as a desire and capability to participate effectively in our legal system.
Academic Focus: 

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


Both courses are 25-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
Awards & Honors: 

Medal of Honor, New Jersey State Bar Foundation, 2006
Professor of the Year, Seton Hall Law School, 1997, 1993, 1990, 1988
Fellowship, Leadership New Jersey, 1993
Outstanding Service Award, Rotary International, 1993
Young Lawyer of the Year, New Jersey Bar Association, 1992
Outstanding Achievement Award, Seton Hall Law School Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Law Society, 1991
Exemplary Teacher, the American Association of Higher Education, 1990
Outstanding Achievement Award, New Jersey State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, 1990
Phi Beta Kappa, upon completion of junior year, 1979


Co-author, Property Law and the Public Interest (Michie, 1998)

Throw Your Fears Out the Window (Donnelly, 1997)

Co-author, New Jersey Forms of Jury Instruction (Multi-Volume Series, Matthew Bender, 1993)

The Community of Law Teachers and Scholars Expands: Guideposts for New Faculty, 22 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1375 (1992)

The Mentor Program: Building Bridges to the Community, 22 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1366 (1992)

Reclaiming Our Noble Profession, 22 Seton Hall L. Rev. 307 (1992)


Updated August 16, 2013 by Anne Wolff-Lawson.



At Barnard College
417-A Lehman Hall
Tel  212-854-8422
Fax 212-854-3024

At Seton Hall Law School


Office Hours: 

Fall 2015 Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.



J.D. Columbia University School of Law, 1983

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

Related Web Sites: 

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In the News