B.S., University of Illinois J.D., University of Michigan Law School
Professor Melissa L. Breger has been teaching at the law school level for 15 years, first at The University of Michigan Law School and then at Albany Law School since 2002. Prior to teaching, Professor Breger dedicated her career to children, women and families, with her formative years practicing in New York City in a number of capacities.
She is the recipient of several teaching and service awards, both on a local level and on a national level, including the Shanara C. Gilbert Award in Recognition of Her Excellence in Teaching and Contributions to the Advancement of Social Justice from the American Association of Law Schools and the L. Hart Wright Excellence in Law Teaching Award from The University of Michigan Law School. Professor Breger also received the Albany County Family Court Children’s Center Award “In Recognition Of Her Outstanding And Tireless Work Assisting Children And Families In Need And For Her Dedication To Ensure That Law Students Obtain The Skills Necessary To Provide High Quality And Compassionate Legal Services To Family Court Litigants” in May 2008.
Professor Breger’s current courses at Albany Law School include Evidence, Family Law, Criminal Procedure: Investigation (4th, 5th, 6th A), Gender & the Law, and Children & the Law. She has taught the Domestic Violence Seminar and was the former Director of the Family Violence Litigation Clinic from 2002 to 2010.
Professor Breger is the co-author of NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, a two-volume treatise published by Reuters-Thomson-West, as well as the author of numerous law review articles regarding issues of family law, gender, and justice. Her scholarly interests include the rights of children and families, gender and racial equality, procedural justice in the courtroom, juvenile justice, the increasing epidemic of child sexual trafficking, law and culture, and the intersections between psychology and the law.
NYS COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES OF CRIMINAL CHARGES (website)
Website designed, Columbia Law School Clinic, NYC, Fall 2005
Project launched, State of Judiciary Address, Albany, February 2006
Next colloquium, State Judicial Institute, White Plains, June 2006
New York Law of Domestic Violence, Cumulative Supplement 2014 (co-authors Judge Elkins, Deseiree Kennedy, Jill Zuccardy)
Breger, Kennedy, Zuccardy & Elkins NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (3d ed.) Volumes 1 and 2 (published by Thomson-West-Reuters)
NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2nd ed., (Thomson-West, 2007) (with Judge Lee Elkins and Jane Fosbinder)papers.cfm
From Kate Stoneman to Kate Stoneman Chair, Katheryn D. Katz: Feminist Waves and the First Domestic Violence Course at a United States Law School, Albany Law Review 77 (2014)
Transforming Our Cultural Norms and Deconstructing Sexual Violence against Women, Albany Law School Research Paper No. 4 for 2013-2014papers.cfm
The (In)Visibility of Gender and Motherhood in Family Court Proceedings, 36 NYU Review of Law & Social Change, 555, Fall 2012papers.cfm
Making Waves or Keeping the Calm?: Analyzing the Institutional Culture of Family Courts Through the Lens of Social Psychology Groupthink Theory, 34 Law & Psychol. Rev. 55 (2010)papers.cfm
Against the Dilution of a Child's Voice in Court, 20 Indiana International and Comparative Law Review 175 (2010)
Implementing a Jury Option in Family Violence Proceedings in FAMILY LAW: BALANCING INTERESTS AND PURSUING PRIORITIES 306 (Lynn D. Wardle & Camille S. Williams eds.) (2007) papers.cfm
Advancing the Future of Family Violence Law Pedagogy: The Founding of a Law School Clinic, 41 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 167 (2007) with Theresa Hughes
Introducing the Construct of the Jury into Family Violence Proceedings and Family Court Jurisprudence, 13 Michigan Journal of Gender & Law 1 (2006) papers.cfm
Co-author, 2006 CUMULATIVE SUPPLEMENT to NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Thomson-West, 2006) (with Judge L. Elkins and J. Fosbinder)
Teaching Professionalism in Context: Insights from Students Clients, Adversaries and Judges, 55 South Carolina Law Review 304 (2003) (with Gina Calabrese and Theresa Hughes)papers.cfm
Building Pediatric Law Careers: The University of Michigan Law School Experience, 34 Family Law Quarterly 531 (2000) with S. Scarnecchia, F. Vandervort, and N. Woloshinpapers.cfm
Healing the Wounds of Children Trafficked Internationally by Examining Strategies for Family Violence Survivors Domestically
Professor Melissa Breger presented at the conference "Combatting Slavery in the 21st Century" at the United Nations on April 9, 2014.
Melissa Breger, a professor of law at Albany Law School, said that overall, no-fault divorce has been a “welcome alternative” for litigants who do not wish to reveal traumatic facts in public, air dirty laundry in court or, in some cases, perjure themselves by accusing their spouse of behavior that never occurred in order to end their marriage.
Prior to the law’s passage, Breger had “some serious concerns” about no-fault divorce, as did advocates for domestic violence and other groups, such as the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women and the New York State Catholic Conference.
The big concern, Breger said, was how the law would impact survivors of domestic violence. Would it make it easier for women to get out of abusive relationships? Or would victims lose their bargaining power when it came to issues such as custody?
“There was a concern there would be no accountability for offenders, and that litigants wouldn’t have their day in court,” Breger said. She said that it’s probably too early to ascertain what the impact of the law has been on domestic violence survivors.