Elected Member

Professor Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Atlanta, GA
Emory University School of Law
Columbia Law School

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse is among the nation’s foremost experts on children’s rights. She joined the Emory Law faculty in 2009 as the L. Q. C. Lamar Chair in Law. Her scholarship and teaching focus on child law, child welfare, comparative and international family law, adoption, and constitutional law.

From 1988 to 2001, Woodhouse was a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania and cofounder and codirector of its Center for Children’s Policy Practice and Research. In 2001, Woodhouse became the first the David H. Levin Chair in Family Law at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law (she is currently the David H. Levin Chair Emeritus). In 2001, she founded and was director of Levin College of Law’s Center on Children and Families.

Before entering academia, Woodhouse was a litigator at the New York firm of Debevoise and Plimpton. During her academic career, she has participated in numerous appellate cases raising issues of adoption, custody and juvenile justice, and has authored or co-authored influential amicus briefs in many appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. She is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Following law school, Woodhouse clerked for the Honorable Abraham D. Sofaer of the Southern District of New York and, in OT ’84, was law clerk to Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the US Supreme Court.

Woodhouse has published more than sixteen articles and book chapters and her recent book from Princeton University Press, Hidden in Plain Sight: the Tragedy of Children’s Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate, won the American Political Science Association’s 2009 award for best book on human rights. She was named a Human Rights Hero by the ABA's Journal on Human Rights in 2005. In 2008, she gave the David C. Baum Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at University of Illinois. She was awarded a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 2007–2008. Her recent research has focused on the comparative ecology of childhood in the U.S. and Europe.  Woodhouse is an editor of the Family Court Review and Journal of Psychology, Public Policy and Law.  She was recently re-elected to a fifth three-year term on the Executive Council of the International Society for Family Law.

Education: JD, Columbia University Law School, 1983; Diploma Superiore, Universitá per Stranieri; BA, University of the State of New York.

Professor Barbara Bennett Woodhouse Image
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional Law
Custody (Family Law)
Comparative Law
Domestic Relations (Family Law)
Family Law
Human Rights (Constitutional Law)
Individual Rights (Constitutional Law)
International Law
Juvenile Law (Criminal Law)
Public Interest Law
Reproductive Technology (Family Law)
Treaties (International Law)
Women's Rights (Constitutional Law)