Jane M. Spinak, the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor Emerita of Law at Columbia Law School will deliver the 9th annual Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.
Professor Spinak is a renowned advocate for children’s welfare, family rights and juvenile justice. She will present the lecture titled The End of Family Court.
Spinak’s new book, The End of Family Court How Abolishing the Court Brings Justice to Children and Families, explores the failures of the American family court system and proposes concrete steps toward immediate and permanent change to the way children and families seek justice.
Spinak, recently retired after 40 years, co-founded Columbia Law School’s clinics focused on representing families and children. She most recently directed the Adolescent Representation Clinic, which represented teenagers and young adults aging out of foster care. From 2001 to 2006, Spinak served as the Law School’s director of clinical education.
Before joining the Columbia Law faculty in 1982, Spinak worked as a staff attorney at the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society of New York City. From 1995 to 1998, while on leave from Columbia, Spinak served as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division.
Spinak was a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children for over 30 years and recently served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. From 2008 to 2011, she co-chaired the Task Force on Family Court in New York City created by the New York County Lawyers Association. She is an adviser on the proposed ALI’s Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law.
She was the founding board chair of the Center for Family Representation, an advocacy and policy organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of parents in child-welfare proceedings, and continues to serve on the center’s board. She earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her Bachelor’s Degree from Smith College.
The Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Lecture Series was established in 2014 with a focus on the family law topics that Katz made central to her teaching, including domestic violence, gender and the law, children and the law, reproductive rights, and inequality.
Previous Katz lectures were delivered by Professors Melissa Breger (2015), Donna Young (2016), Mary A. Lynch (2017), Stephen Clark (2018), Jessica Knouse ’04 of the University of Toledo College of Law (2019), Rutgers Law School Co-Dean and Professor Kimberly Mutcherson (2020), Georgetown Law Professor Kristin Henning (2021), and Dean of Temple University Beasley School of Law Rachel Rebouche (2022). To learn more about the lecture, click here.