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Jane Spinak

Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law

Jane Spinak

Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law

Jane M. Spinak is the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. A member of the Law School faculty since 1982, Spinak co-founded the Child Advocacy and Family Advocacy Clinics. She currently directs the Adolescent Representation Clinic, which represents adolescents and young adults aging out of foster care.

During the mid-1990s, Spinak served as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society of New York City. From 2001 to 2006, she was the director of Clinical Education at the Law School.

In 2002, she became the founding chair of the board of the Center for Family Representation (CFR), an advocacy and policy organization dedicated to ensuring the procedural and substantive rights of parents in child-welfare proceedings. She continues to serve on CFR’s board and chairs its Leadership Council. Spinak co-chaired the Task Force on Family Court in New York City created by the New York County Lawyer’s Association from 2008 to 2011.

Spinak is a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. She has served on numerous tasks forces and committees addressing the needs and rights of children and families, and has trained and lectured widely on those issues to lawyers, social workers, and other mental health professionals.

She has authored books and articles for child advocates, lawyers, and judges on child welfare and Family Court matters. Her current scholarship focuses on the history and effectiveness of the Family Court. In 2005, the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine named Spinak a Human Rights Hero for her work on behalf of children. In 2008, she was awarded the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by the New York State Bar Association.  In 2018, Professor Spinak received the New York City Bar's 2018 Kathryn A. McDonald Award for excellence in service to the New York City Family Court. 

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1979
  • B.A., Smith College, 1974
Areas of Expertise
  • Child welfare policy
  • Juvenile justice
  • Child advocacy
  • Family Court reform
  • Clinical legal education

View Jane M. Spinak's SSRN page, as well as a PDF list of her publications:

Download Full C.V.
Adolescent Representation Clinic
Adolescent Representation Clinic - Project Work
Advanced Adolescent Representation Clinic
Advanced Adolescent Representation Clinic - Project Work
Ex. Pro Bono Scholars
Ex. Pro Bono Scholars - Fieldwork
S. Adolescence
S. Professional Responsibility: Becoming a Lawyer