Melissa Murray is the Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at NYU Law, where she teaches Family Law, Constitutional Law, Advanced Topics in Family Law, and Reproductive Rights and Justice. Prior to her appointment at NYU, she was the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was on the faculty for twelve years and served as Interim Dean from 2016 to 2017.
Her research focuses on the roles that criminal law and family law play in articulating the legal parameters of intimate life, and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the legal regulation of sex and sexuality, the marriage equality debate, and reproductive rights and justice. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She is the co-author (with K. Luker) of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook in the field of reproductive rights and justice.
In 2013, Murray’s article, “What’s So New About the New Illegitimacy?,” was awarded the Dukeminier Awards’ Michael Cunningham Prize as one of the best sexual orientation and gender identity law review articles of 2012. Her article, “Marriage as Punishment,” won the Association of American Law Schools’ 2010-2011 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. “Marriage as Punishment” was also selected by the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Women in Legal Education as a winner of the 2010-2011 New Voices in Gender Studies scholarly paper competition. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School’s Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. In 2011, Murray was elected to the membership of the American Law Institute. Murray was the 2014 recipient of Berkeley Law’s Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. In 2016, the Center for Reproductive Rights awarded Murray its Innovation in Scholarship Award, which recognizes a distinguished scholar whose research advances the academy’s understanding of health, women’s rights, human rights, constitutional law, and related fields.
Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal. While in law school, she earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar and was a semifinalist of Morris Tyler Moot Court.
Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray is a member of the New York bar.