College of Law Faculty
Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Director of the Family Law & Policy Program at the University of at the University of Illinois College of Law. She is the author or editor of eleven books, including Reconceiving the Family: Critique on the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (ed., Cambridge University Press, 2006), Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty (with Douglas Laycock and Anthony Picarello, eds., 2008), The Contested Place of Religion In Family Law (ed., Cambridge University Press, 2018), and Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground (William N. Eskridge, Jr. & Robin Fretwell Wilson, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2018). Ranked among the Top 10 US Family Law Scholars for impact, Professor Wilson serves on the Executive Council of the International Society of Family Law.
Yulanda Curtis began teaching in Fall 2018. As a Clinical Assistant Professor, she is laying the groundwork for her Veterans Legal Clinic and began teaching in Fall 2018. Her Clinic will address the civil and legal needs of veterans and their families. Prior to joining the College of Law, she directed the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. Additionally, she has four years of experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C. She first served as an Adjudicator for their Veterans Benefits Administration before being promoted and receiving the title of Associate Counsel of the Board of Veteran’s Appeals.
Stephanie Davidson is the Associate Director for Faculty and Student Outreach at the University of Illinois College of Law Library. She provides instruction and research support for students in upper-level seminars in the College, including the Children's Health and Violence course. Professor Davidson is nationally recognized for her work on library systems and services in the modern hybrid environment, and also teaches as an adjunct professor in the iSchool at Illinois.
Dean Margareth Etienne, the Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs and the Nancy Snowden Research Scholar in Law, is the inaugural associate dean for graduate and international programs, where she oversees the College of Law’s JSD, LLM, and MSL programs. Professor Etienne teaches criminal law and procedure, sentencing, education law and children in the law. Her research focuses on legal decision-making and ethics in institutions ranging from criminal courts to schools and families. In 2004, she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct judicial training on white-collar crime in Senegal. Professor Etienne received her bachelor’s degree in history with honors from Yale University, and earned her law degree from Yale Law School.
Professor Melissa Frydman joined the University of Illinois in April 2010 to develop and direct the new Family Advocacy Clinic, which advocates for the rights of parents and children in juvenile abuse and neglect cases in Champaign County. Beginning in fall 2016, Professor Frydman was named Director of Clinical Education. In this capacity, she oversees the entire clinical program, faculty, and staff. Professor Frydman has spent her career advocating for children and those who cannot afford legal representation.
Richard L. Kaplan is the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at the University of Illinois and is an internationally recognized authority on U.S. tax law and policy. In 1992, Professor Kaplan developed one of the first law school courses on elder law, which encompasses Social Security, pension benefits, Medicare, long-term care, and end-of-life issues. He is the co-author of Elder Law in a Nutshell and has served as faculty advisor for the Elder Law Journal since its inception. Professor Kaplan is a research fellow of the Employee Benefits Research Institute and an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Robin Kar is a Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar of contract law, philosophy of law, moral and legal philosophy, and the evolution of legal systems and complex social structure (including modern markets). He draws on methods that include not only traditional legal studies but also philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory, game theory, economics, neuroscience, anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and comparative cultural and legal studies. These methods inform his research into what law is and how it functions in people’s lives. Recently, Professor Kar has been exploring the nature of marriage and family obligations, using theological and other historical texts.
Jay P. Kesan’s research and professional interests lie at the intersection of law and technology—in the areas of intellectual property (specifically patents), innovation, and entrepreneurship as well in data privacy and data security. He has written extensively in these areas (see, http://www.jaykesan.com), and he is also an inventor who holds many U.S. patents and he has worked with numerous technology start-up companies. He worked as a research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and at Illinois, he has joint appointments in the College of Law and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Colleen Murphy is a Professor in the College of Law and the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program in Illinois International Programs, and Affiliate Faculty of the Beckman Institute. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, and the Journal of Moral Philosophy. She has also served on the Gender Equity Council (2013-2017) and the #MeToo Critical Conversation Exploratory Committee (2018-2019) at the University of Illinois.
Lesley Wexler is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law. She has broad research interests in international humanitarian law, human rights law, and sex discrimination. She specializes in those legal areas that reflect the movement of anti-discrimination and humanitarian norms through domestic law, international law, social movements, and corporations. She has written on the legitimacy of targeting decisions, the blood diamond trade, and the regulation of depleted uranium and landmines, along with a series of articles on human rights impact statements. Her work has drawn on case studies using DeBeers, Wal-Mart, and Chik-fil-A.
Phyllis Baker is the Special Assistant to the President of the University of Illinois System, Prior to joining the Office of the President of the University of Illinois System, Phyllis was a Teaching Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is professor emeritus from the University of Northern Iowa where she held positions of Department Head of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies, and Associate Dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Phyllis received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego.
Jennifer Hardesty is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois. Through her work, she focuses on advancing the understanding of intimate partner violence, separation/divorce, and parenting after separation. Through studying how different types of violence during marriage relate to different co-parenting experiences and health outcomes after separation, she will be able to inform prevention and intervention efforts with divorcing parents.
Ruby Mendenhall is an Associate Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Art, and Social Sciences. Her research focuses on issues of social inequality over the life course and the role of public policy and individuals’ agency in facilitating social and economic mobility.
Brian Ogolsky is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois. He focuses his research on how relational partners maintain healthy romantic relationships across the life course. His work has the potential to inform practitioners and promote policy initiatives designed to enhance family dynamics.