Home Others Jane M. Spinak

Jane M. Spinak

  • Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law
  • Full-time faculty

J.D., New York University School of Law, 1979
B.A., Smith College, 1974

Fields of study
  • Family, gender and sexuality
  • Social justice and human rights
areas of expertise

Child welfare policy
Juvenile criminal law
Advocacy for children
Family court reform
Clinical legal training
Professional responsibility

A renowned advocate for child welfare and juvenile justice, Jane M. Spinak co-founded Columbia Law's clinics, which focus on family and child representation. Spinak currently runs the Adolescent Representation Clinic, which represents adolescents and young adults who age outside of a foster family. From 2001 to 2006, Spinak was Director of Clinical Education at the Law School.

Spinak specializes in juvenile justice, child advocacy and family justice reform - teaching, writing, lecturing and mentoring students interested in the civil service. Her current scholarship deals with the history and effectiveness of the family court. She has written books and articles for child advocates, lawyers, and judges; Has participated in numerous committees and task forces dealing with the needs and rights of children and families; and has trained and lectured on these topics to lawyers, social workers, and mental health professionals. Spinak also teaches Professional Responsibility and the Pro Bono Scholars External Program.

Prior to joining the Columbia Law Faculty in 1982, Spinak was an associate attorney with the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City. From 1995 to 1998, Spinak served as the lawyer in charge of the youth rights department while on vacation from Columbia.

Spinak is a member of the New York State Standing Judiciary Commission on Justice for Children and a member of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Justice. From 2008 to 2011, she co-chaired the Task Force on Family Court in New York City, established by the New York County Lawyers Association. She is an advisor on the ALI's amendment to the law, the children and the law.

She was the founding chair of the Center for Family Representation, an advocacy and political organization dedicated to upholding parental rights in child protection proceedings, and continues to serve on the centre's board of directors.


Watch Jane M. Spinaks SSRN page , as well as a PDF list of their publications .

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