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Faculty Spotlight

On Scholarship and Stoneman Day: A Conversation with Professor Melissa Breger

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Professor Melissa Breger has a lot going on these days: in addition to teaching, she has her hands in a number of publications. She is also one of the main organizers of Kate Stoneman Day, Albany Law School's annual celebration of women in the legal profession.

We recently caught up with Professor Breger to learn more about her current scholarship, her thoughts on mentorship, and her plans for what will be a special 25th anniversary Stoneman Day.

Your recent scholarship has focused on human trafficking, implicit bias, domestic violence, and the rights of children and families. What are you currently researching? Can you tell us about any forthcoming articles?

Sure.  This is actually a very busy time for me, as I am working on six different projects currently.

I just submitted two interdisciplinary pieces: one about a culture of toxic masculinity in the sports world with two researchers out of Canada, and the other with researchers at the University at Albany examining corporal punishment in schools across the globe. The latter piece builds upon  research that we have been engaged in for the past two years, along with a stellar team of our law students. I am also working with that same team writing a law review article about international norms in the family in terms of corporal punishment in the home. I am finishing edits on an article about implicit bias in the courtroom and judicial diversity for a submission in the University of Richmond Law Review to be published this May.  In terms of book projects, I was invited to submit a proposal entitled "Comparative Family Law" and am (continuously) updating my co-authored NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE treatise.

What drives your interest in this these areas?   

I find all of these areas infinitely fascinating and critically important. I feel that researching these issues shines a light on areas of law that are often hidden or overlooked.  At times the subject matter becomes too heavy and I will find balance in reading novels, drafting children's books, or creating poetry!

What role has mentoring played in your career?

It wasn't until I was in law school—as a student—that I saw how important it was to have mentors. My mentors then were my law school professors, so I try to mentor my own law students as much as possible. Yet, even much later in your career, it continues to be important to have mentors. Around this time of the year, with Kate Stoneman Day on my mind, I naturally think of Professor Kathy Katz, who was an amazing mentor to me and to so many of my colleagues at Albany Law School. She was a quintessential mentor.