Professor Clare Huntington

Clare Huntington

  • Professor of Law

J.D., Columbia Law School, 1996
B.A., Oberlin College, 1990

Areas of Specialty

Family Law
Children and the Law
Poverty Law
Legislation and Regulation

Clare Huntington ’96 is a nationally recognized expert in family law and poverty law. Her wide-ranging scholarship explores the institutions and empirical foundations of the legal system’s approach to relationships. Her research focuses on early childhood development, aging, and the challenges facing nonmarital families because of the law’s myopic focus on marriage.

Huntington’s research has appeared in the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, New York University Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among other academic journals. She is the author of Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships and a co-editor of Social Parenthood in Comparative Perspective. She serves as associate reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law

Before entering academia, Huntington was an attorney adviser in the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and clerked for Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Huntington joined Columbia Law School as professor of law on July 1, 2023. She was previously a visiting scholar in 2008 and Nathaniel Fensterstock Visiting Professor of Law in 2022. Prior to her appointment at Columbia Law, she was the Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. During her tenure there, she was associate dean for strategic initiatives and associate dean for research and was named Teacher of the Year in 2021. She was previously associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School.



  • Social Parenthood in Comparative Perspective (NYU Press 2023) (editor, with Courtney Joslin and Christiane von Bary)
  • Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships (Oxford University Press 2014) (paperback edition 2016)


  • “Pragmatic Family Law,” 136 HARV. L. REV. 1501 (2023)
  • “Family Law for an Aging America,” 132 YALE L. J. 1691 (2023) (with Naomi Cahn and Elizabeth Scott)
  • “The Institutions of Family Law,” 102 B.U. L. REV. 393 (2022)
  • “Reconceptualizing Legal Childhood,” 118 MICH. L. REV. 1371 (2020) (with Elizabeth S. Scott)
  • “The Empirical Turn in Family Law,” 118 COLUM. L. REV. 227 (2018) Translated into Spanish and published as “El giro empírico en el derecho de familia,” in Pinkus, María Fernanda (Coord.), Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, 2022
  • “Early Childhood Development and the Law,” 90 S. CAL. L. REV. 755 (2017)
  • “Postmarital Family Law: A Legal Structure for Nonmarital Families,” 67 STAN. L. REV. 167 (2015)
  • “Staging the Family,” 88 N.Y.U. L. REV. 589 (2013)
  • “Familial Norms and Normality,” 59 EMORY L.J. 1103 (2010)
  • “Repairing Family Law,” 57 DUKE L.J. 1245 (2008)
  • “The Constitutional Dimension of Immigration Federalism,” 61 VAND. L. REV. 787 (2008)
  • “Mutual Dependency in Child Welfare,” 82 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 1485 (2007)
  • “Rights Myopia in Child Welfare,” 53 UCLA L. REV. 637 (2006)
  • “Welfare Reform and Child Care: A Proposal for State Legislation,” 6 CORNELL J. L. & PUB. POL’Y 95 (1996)

Book chapters

  • “Racial Equity and the Limits of Pragmatism,” in Families of Color and Social Change (forthcoming NYU Press) (Nancy Dowd and Robin Lenhardt, eds.)
  • “The 100 Year Life and the New Family Law,” in Law and the One-Hundred-Year Life (forthcoming) (Anne Alstott and Abbe Gluck, eds.) (with Naomi Cahn and Elizabeth Scott)
  • “Child Development and the Child Welfare System,” in The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Psychology and the Law (forthcoming) (Allison Redlich and Jodi Quas, eds.)
  • “The Future of Social Parenthood,” in Social Parenthood in Comparative Perspective (NYU Press 2023) (with Courtney Joslin and Christiane von Bary)
  • “Early Childhood Development and the Replication of Poverty,” in Holes in the Safety Net: Federalism and Poverty (Ezra Rosser ed.) (Cambridge Univ. Press 2019)
  • “New Knowledge in Child Protection: Neuroscience and its Impact on Practice,” in Beyond the Risk Paradigm: Current Debates and New Directions in Child Protection (Marie Connolly ed.) (Palgrave 2017)
  • “Affective Family Law,” in The Emotional Dynamics of Law and Legal Discourse (John Stannard and Heather Conway eds.) (Hart 2016)

Other publications

  • “Parental Rights Rhetoric versus Parental Rights Doctrine,” 90 CHI. L. REV. (forthcoming 2024)
  • “The Enduring Importance of Parental Rights,” 90 FORDHAM L. REV. 2529 (2022) (with Elizabeth S. Scott)
  • “The Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law: A Blueprint for Reforming the Child Welfare System,” 60 FAM. CT. REV. 32 (2021)
  • “The New Restatement of Children and the Law: Legal Childhood in the Twenty-First Century,” 54 FAMILY L.Q. 91 (2021) (with Elizabeth S. Scott)
  • “Lessons from the Prekindergarten Movement,” 47 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 343 (2020)
  • “The Legal Framework Governing Corporal Punishment,” 73 PSYCHOANALYTIC STUDY CHILD 91 (2020)
  • “Abortion Talk,” 117 MICH. L. REV. 1043 (2019) (reviewing Carol Sanger, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First Century America)
  • “A Promising Start for Early Childhood Development and the Law,” 71 FLA. L. REV. F. 70 (2019)
  • “Family Law’s Exclusions,” 87 FORDHAM L. REV. ONLINE 64 (2019)
  • “The Complex First Family,” 56 FAM. CT. REV. 351 (2018)
  • “Moore Kinship: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Moore v. City of East Cleveland,” 85 FORDHAM L. REV. 2551 (2017) (with R.A. Lenhardt)
  • “The Place of Flourishing Families,” 43 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 963 (2017) (with Nestor Davidson)
  • “Nonmarital Families and the Legal System’s Institutional Failures,” 50 FAM. L.Q. 247 (2016)
  • “Introduction, Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory,” 9 STUD. L. POL. & SOC. 1 (2015) (with Maxine Eichner)
  • “Obergefell’s Conservatism: Reifying Familial Fronts,” 84 FORDHAM L. REV. 23 (2015) (invited symposium)
  • “Children’s Health in a Legal Framework” (with Elizabeth Scott), 21 FUTURE OF CHILDREN 177 (2015) (invited symposium)
  • “Family Law and Nonmarital Families,” 53 FAM. CT. REV. 233 (2015) (invited special issue)
  • “The Child Welfare System and the Limits of Determinacy,” 76 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 221 (2014) (invited symposium)
  • “Neuroscience and the Child Welfare System,” 21 J. L. & Pol’y 37 (2012) (invited symposium)
  • “Flourishing Families,” 50 FAM. CT. REV. 273 (2012) (invited special issue)
  • “Introduction, Special Issue: Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers,” 50 FAM. CT. REV. 179 (2012)
  • “Purple Haze,” 109 MICH. L. REV. 903 (reviewing Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture) (2011)
  • “Feminism’s Family, Legal Feminism Now Symposium,” Issues in Legal Scholarship, Berkeley Electronic Press (2011) (invited symposium)
  • “Embracing the Affective Family,” 33 HARV. J. L. & GENDER 321 (2010) (invited symposium)
  • “Happy Families? Translating Positive Psychology into Family Law,” 16 VA. J. SOC. POL’Y & L. 385 (2009) (invited symposium)

Honors and Awards

Teacher of the Year, Fordham Law School


Honorable Mention, Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Award, in Law and Legal Studies, for “Failure to Flourish”


Elected Member, American Law Institute


Excellence in Teaching, University of Colorado Law School

2006 and 2007

Outstanding New Faculty Member, University of Colorado Law School


Public and Professional Service

  • Board Member, Women’s Prison Association, New York, 1991–97, 2012–present
  • Member, Editorial Board, Family Court Review, 2013–present
  • Member, Supreme Court of Colorado, Standing Committee on Children and Families, 2006–2011
  • Member, Colorado Legal Services Needs Assessment Advisory Committee, 2007–2011
  • Member, Supreme Court of Colorado, Respondent Parents’ Counsel Task Force, 2005–2007