Faculty and Staff


The faculty and staff at Emory Law are involved in a wide variety of public interest projects.

Their experiences make them a great resource for students considering pursuing a public interest career. Below is a list of faculty and staff members who are involved in public interest at Emory Law.

Robert B. Ahdieh

While in law school, Professor Robert B. Ahdieh served as a student director of the Allard K. Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic. He spearhead an ultimately successful Alien Tort Claims Act lawsuit against Radovan Karadzic for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 ethnic war in Bosnia & Herzegovina. For many years, he chaired the Board of Directors of the Tahirih Justice Center, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit serving the needs of immigrant and refugee women and girls. He also worked on human rights issues in the Middle East and in Central and Eastern Europe. At Emory, Ahdieh has been actively involved in efforts to re-establish—and secure the long-term future of—the Loan Repayment Assistance Program. He also played a central role in promoting judicial clerkship opportunities for Emory students. He is the vice dean of Emory Law.

Frank S. Alexander

Professor Frank S. Alexander's public interest work is primarily in the fields of affordable housing, community redevelopment, and state and local government law. Alexander served as a fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University (1993-1996) and commissioner of the Georgia Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless (1994-1998). He works with nonprofit organizations in Atlanta serving the homeless and providing assistance to persons with chronic mental illness who are homeless. As director of the Project on Community Development and Affordable Housing, Alexander has represented residents in public housing projects, drafted state legislation on land bank authorities and abandoned tax delinquent properties (Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois and Ohio), and undertaken studies for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Fannie Mae Foundation and the Brookings Institution. One of the founders of the National Vacant Properties Campaign (Smart Growth America), Alexander testified before Congress in May 2008 on pending legislation that created the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Laurie Blank

Professor Laurie Blank is the director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic and was one of the principal founders of the clinic in early 2007. She supervises law students in their work assisting organizations, law firms and tribunals on cases, projects and issues related to humanitarian law and human rights. The clinic's primary goal is to provide students with opportunities to do real-world work in the fields of humanitarian law and human rights while providing much-needed assistance to these entities. Before coming to Emory, she was a program officer in the Rule of Law Program at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where she ran an expert working group on New Actors in the Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law. While at USIP, she drafted an amicus brief on behalf of the Government of Rwanda before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and participated in numerous symposia and working groups on transitional justice, international humanitarian law and related issues. Her book, Law of War Training: A Resource for Military and Civilian Leaders (2008), provides guidance for countries on how to establish military training programs in the laws of war and is available as an online resource as well. Blank received her JD from New York University School of Law, where she was the Henry L. Boudin Fellow for Human Rights from 1996-1998, and her MA in international relations from The Paul H. Nitze Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in political science.

William W. Buzbee

Professor William W. Buzbee joined Emory's faculty in 1993 after practicing law from 1986 to 1993. At Emory Law, he teaches Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Legal Methods, Land Use and, on occasion, Property and is the director of Emory Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. He also, from time to time, offers seminars on advanced environmental and regulatory topics such as Federalism and Devolution, Regulatory Reform and Urban Environmental Law. Buzbee has extensive public interest law experience. After clerking for a federal judge, he worked as an attorney-fellow for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a public interest environmental not-for-profit. While working at a private law firm in New York City, where his practice concentrated on environmental law and litigation, he worked on pro bono matters involving civil rights laws, environmental justice disputes and humans rights violations. He also performed litigation and counseling work for several public authorities. While at Columbia Law School, Buzbee worked for the New York State Attorney General Labor Division as well as for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., where he worked on several civil rights lawsuits. Since moving to Atlanta, Buzbee has served on the board of the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, an environmental law oriented not-for-profit, and occasionally served as a legal adviser to the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. He also co-founded Emory Law's Turner Environmental Law Clinic and heads its advisory board. He has assisted on several U.S. Supreme Court cases involving environmental law, has testified regarding environmental law and federalism issues before congressional committees, and frequently offers advice on environmental legislative proposals. He also is an active regulatory scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform, a not-for-profit regulatory thinktank. His scholarship focuses on public law topics ranging from environmental law policy, to public law litigation and citizen standing, to exploration of federalism and its intersection with land use policy. His recent articles explore separation of powers and federalism disputes in statutory interpretation and constitutional law settings.

Melissa Carter

Professor Melissa Carter is executive director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center. She is responsible for the administration of the center, including supervision of clinical faculty, staff and students; development and budgeting; strategic planning; and directing the center’s policy and legislative agendas. Carter oversees the center’s three student legal clinics and teaches related courses. Prior to joining the law faculty, she served as the appointed state child advocate, leading the staff of the Office of the Child Advocate in the fulfillment of the executive agency’s statutory mandates to provide independent oversight of the child welfare system and coordination of activities related to child injury and fatality review and prevention. She has extensive experience in public agency administration and public policy, having also worked in Illinois and Georgia for the states’ Court Improvement Projects, a federally funded program focused on improving the processing of civil child abuse and neglect cases in juvenile courts. Carter formerly practiced with the law firm of Claiborne, Outman & Surmay PC, representing clients in adoption, assisted reproductive technology, and juvenile court cases and was previously affiliated with Emory Law as Barton’s 2002 post-graduate fellow. 

A. James Elliott

A former partner in the Atlanta law firm of Alston & Bird, Associate Dean A. James Elliott 63C 66L is a past president of the State Bar of Georgia and of its Young Lawyers Division, a past member of the State Disciplinary Board and a member of the State Bar Board of Governors. He is a founding member of the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism. Elliott was a co-founder of Georgia Indigent Legal Services and, in 1991, he received the Arthur Von Briesen Award, which is given annually by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association to one lawyer in private practice for substantial volunteer contributions to the legal assistance movement for the poor. He also is a co-founder of Georgia’s IOLTA program, which has raised nearly $100,000,000 for worthy causes, including legal services for the poor. In addition to his Bar and legal services activities, Elliott has had a longtime involvement with community organizations and institutions such as Woodruff Arts Center, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Leadership Atlanta, United Way and Emory University. Emory Law recently established the A. James Elliott Community Service Award, which is awarded to a graduating student whose efforts reflect Elliott’s dedication to service.

Martha A. Fineman

Professor Martha A. Fineman is an internationally recognized law and society scholar and a leading authority on family law and feminist jurisprudence. Fineman is founder and director of the Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project, which was inaugurated in 1984 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The FLT Project has since followed Fineman to Columbia and Cornell, where she also held faculty appointments, until settling in 2004 at Emory University, where she was named a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law. The FLT Project sponsors several workshops and conferences each year dealing with issues related to feminism, gender and sexuality and family law. The FLT Project also hosts visiting scholars from around the world and maintains an archive of groundbreaking feminist legal scholarship collected over the past 20 years. In addition to directing the FLT Project, Fineman has received awards for her writing and teaching and has served on several government study commissions. She teaches family law, feminist jurisprudence, law and sexuality, and seminars on reproductive issues and select topics in feminist legal theory. Fineman also is a board member of Veteran Feminists of America and serves on the Transforming Community Project, an initiative aimed at improving racial relations and education on race scholarship at Emory.

Mindy Goldstein

Mindy Goldstein joined the Turner Environmental Law Clinic in 2008 and serves as its director. She supervises students on litigation, transactional, and policy matters related to sustainable energy and climate change, access to information, urban agriculture and farming, water quality, land use and endangered species protection. In addition, Goldstein serves as co-chair of the Georgia Public Interest Environmental Law Coalition and as a member of PATH Foundation’s special events and public relations committee. Before joining the clinic, Goldstein was an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.  While there, she represented clients in real estate and land use transactions. Goldstein graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she received a concentration in environmental law and worked in the environmental law clinic.

Timothy Holbrook

Professor Timothy Holbrook graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University, earning a BS in chemical engineering with a life sciences concentration. He received his JD from Yale Law School, where he served as a lead editor and publications director of the Yale Journal on Regulation. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Glenn L. Archer Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Following his clerkship, Holbrook worked in Budapest, Hungary, with the Hungarian patent law firm Danubia. Upon his return to the United States, he associated with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding (now Wiley Rein), where his practice focused on patent and appellate litigation. Before joining the Emory faculty, Holbrook was a tenured professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He served as the Edwin A. Heafey Jr. Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and also has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He was a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Media and Communication Studies at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). While in Chicago, Holbrook was a founder and the program chair for the Richard Linn Inn of Court. Since arriving in Atlanta, he helped establish the Atlanta Intellectual Property Inn of Court. He also has served as an expert or consultant in a variety of patent litigation cases, both in the United States and abroad. He serves on the Emory University President's Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity, and Queer Equality.

Michael Kang

Professor Michael Kang received his BA and JD degrees from the University of Chicago, where he served as technical editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. He received his MA from the University of Illinois and PhD in Government from Harvard University. After law school, Kang clerked for Judge Michael S. Kanne of the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and worked in private practice at Ropes & Gray in Boston, Mass., where he worked on various pro bono matters. He is associate dean of the faculty at Emory Law.

Kay Levine

Professor Kay Levine’s public interest work is primarily in the fields of gender and crime. In the 1990s, she served for three years as a prosecutor in Southern California, where she worked extensively with victims of violent and property crimes, including domestic and sexual assaults. While completing her PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at the University of California-Berkeley, she worked on behalf of criminal defendants in the San Francisco Bay area as a consultant to small firms. Her doctoral work and recent research concerns the impact of statutory rape laws on the populations of both victims and defendants. Professor Levine’s current research is in two areas related to public interest: the racial impact of drug free school zone laws, and the discriminatory use of home detention alternatives to incarceration. At Emory, Levine is a full-time member of the law faculty as well as affiliated with the sociology department, the Women’s Studies Department, the Feminism and Legal Theory Project and the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In addition to teaching courses in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Victimless Crimes and the Regulation of Sexuality, she worked on the ABA’s Death Penalty Moratorium Project and helped design an Indigent Defense Clinic.

Sue McAvoy

Sue McAvoy is the Office of Career Services’ director/public interest advisor, a role she has held since her arrival at Emory Law in 1994. She focuses on assisting law students with all aspects of their job searches and career development, with a particular focus on assisting students seeking public interest/government employment. In addition, she advises the Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC, the public interest law student organization) and was instrumental in the creation of the EPIC Inspiration Awards, the organization’s signature event that honors public servants while raising funds for stipends to students who take otherwise unfunded public sector summer jobs. McAvoy manages the Georgia Law School Consortium’s annual Public Sector Career Fair, provides semi-annual public interest/government job search information sessions for students, maintains resources related to public service employment, manages the Law School’s Public Interest Mentor Program, and serves on the Law School’s Public Interest Committee. She is the school’s liaison with Equal Justice Works, serves on the National Association for Law Placement Public Service Committee and has written numerous articles and presented a variety of programs at professional conferences sponsored by NALP. McAvoy graduated from Davidson College and served as president of the Davidson College Alumni Association (2010) and a trustee of Davidson College (2009-2010).  Prior to joining Emory Law, she served as the director of attorney recruitment and development with Hurt, Richardson, Garner, Todd & Cadenhead for 13 years.

Polly J. Price

As an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Polly J. Price 86C 86G clerked for Judge Richard S. Arnold of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Following her clerkship she practiced law for several years at King & Spalding in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. In 2001, Price was the U.S. representative in Pretoria, South Africa, at the Equality Law Conference for South African Judges and Magistrates, under the auspices of a speaker's grant from the U.S. State Department's Rule of Law Project. Additionally, Price has served on the Advisory Board for the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers and the Board of Trustees for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education. 
She is a longtime member of Emory’s Lamar Inn of Court executive board. The Lamar Inn of Court is an affiliate of the American Inns of Court devoted to professionalism in litigation. It strives to enhance the professional and ethical quality of legal advocacy by the bar, and is composed of Atlanta-area federal and state court judges, experienced trial lawyers, less experienced attorneys, law professors and law students. Price is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a law reform organization. She is also interested in continuing judicial education, and has served as a faculty member at various judicial conferences and workshops, including the 2009 DC Circuit Judicial Conference. At Emory, she served on a Presidential commission address conflict of interests.

Paul Rubin

Professor Paul Rubin is a senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He has written and testified on numerous policy issues. Rubin was one of the first to advocate direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and has given numerous talks on this issue, as well as testifying before the Food and Drug Administration. He has written on Internet privacy and has testified twice before Congress on this issue. He also has written about First Amendment issues, including analyses of commercial speech and of free speech on campuses. Rubin is the co-author of an article and the co-editor of a book on the economics of the Bill of Rights. He publishes frequently in the Wall Street Journal and other leading newspapers.

Teemu Ruskola

Professor Teemu Ruskola is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the Law and Public Affairs Fellowship at Princeton University, the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship with the American Council of Learned Societies and a membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He scholarship addresses questions of legal theory from multiple perspectives, frequently with China as a vantage point. His publications—appearing in the Michigan Law Review, the Stanford Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, among other places—explore the intersection of corporate and family law in China, “legal Orientalism” and the history and politics of Euro-American conceptions of sovereignty in the Asia-Pacific. Ruskola is an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law as well as a member of the executive editorial board of the American Journal of Comparative Law.

Ani B. Satz

Professor Ani B. Satz holds a JD from the University of Michigan School of Law and a PhD in philosophy from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (completed at Princeton University). She has teaching and research interests in health, disability, tort and animal law as well as law and philosophy. Her scholarship explores legal responses to vulnerability and governmental obligations to those who are vulnerable. Such obligations include matters of distributive justice (access to material resources) as well as formal justice concerns (the recognition and preservation of rights and interests). Her recent scholarship addresses, from a law and ethics perspective, the vulnerability of disabled persons, uninsured and underinsured patients (and the need for health care reform) and nonhuman animals. Satz teaches courses in health, disability, tort and animal law, as well as a seminar entitled "Law and Vulnerability" (with Professor Martha A. Fineman).She is a full-time member of the Emory Law faculty and holds joint appointments at the Rollins School of Public Health and the Center for Ethics. Satz is core faculty of the Vulnerability Project (funded by Emory’s Race and Difference Initiative) and the Law School’s Global Health Law & Policy Project (funded by Emory’s Global Health Initiative). She also is involved in the Predictive Health Initiative, the Feminism and Legal Theory Project and the Institute of Human Rights at Emory. Satz supervises students enrolled in the JD/MPH program and serves as a liaison to the Medical School, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regional academic institutions with health programs. Professor Satz is involved in strategic planning for the university-wide Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics. In addition, she is the faculty advisor of the Legal Association for Women Students and the Health Law Society. She founded and runs the Torts Book Club. Satz is chair of the AALS Section on Disability Law and an Executive Committee Member of the AALS Section on Animal Law. She is a member of the Bioethics and Public Policy Group at Yale University; the American Bar Association; the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics; the Animal Legal Defense Fund; the Law & Society Association; and the American Philosophical Association. Before coming to Emory, Satz clerked for Judge Jane R. Roth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and lectured at Yale University in the Philosophy Department and the Ethics, Politics & Economics Program as well as Monash University Medical School in Melbourne, Australia. While at Michigan Law School, Satz was one of the founding members of the Health Law Society and served on the Family Law Project.

Robert Schapiro

Dean and Professor of Law Robert A. Schapiro is a member of the Governing Board of Common Cause/Georgia. He has served on the Jewish Community Relations Committee of Greater Atlanta and as member of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs Ad Hoc Committee on Constitutional Freedoms in the Age of Cyber-Technology. At the Georgia Supreme Court's invitation, Schapiro filed an amicus brief supporting a state constitutional right to privacy in medical information. During law school, he participated in the Legal Assistance and Capital Punishment clinics.

Sarah Shalf

Sarah Shalf, administrative professor for field placement and co-director of the Professionalism Program, joined the Emory Law faculty after practicing at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore from 2002 through 2011. She clerked for Judge Frank M. Hull on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. Shalf’s focus in public interest has been First Amendment free speech rights, election law and the intersection of criminal justice, incarceration and health law (including mental health and disability law). She partnered with the ACLU of Georgia in representing Martha Burk in her successful quest to protest the 2003 Masters Tournament and in assisting other groups with litigation over protest permits for the G-8 summit. Since 2004, Shalf has been part of the Georgia Legal Committee for Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition that monitors elections and ensures that qualified citizens are allowed to vote, and has assisted in litigation over several state and local election laws or practices. She spent six years representing a paraplegic Georgia prisoner in the 11th Circuit and in district court in litigating his disability rights to a successful resolution, and she was a writing consultant on a 2007 Institute of Medicine report on Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners. Shalf also litigated or advised younger associates in several appeals on a pro bono or court-appointed basis, including cases involving the civil rights of prisoners, the competence of criminal defendants, and federal criminal sentencing issues on direct appeal and habeas. Aside from her legal work, Shalf is the founding chair of the Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, where she continues to serve on the executive board, and remains actively involved in the State Bar and Atlanta Bar Association.

Charles A. Shanor

Professor Charles A. Shanor spent three years (1987-1990) as general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Equal Pay Act. He has also been involved in a variety of civic activities having public interest components, such as developing and presenting neighborhood-sensitive alternatives for vehicular access to The Carter Center on behalf of the Druid Hills Civic Association. Shanor was instrumental in starting the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory Law and serves on its board of advisors. He also serves on the board of trustees of Trinity School and has filed pro bono amicus briefs on constitutional and civil rights issues at the request of nonprofit organizations and the Georgia Supreme Court. 

John Witte Jr.

John Witte Jr. is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion Center at Emory University. A specialist in legal history, marriage law and religious liberty, he has published 180 articles, 11 journal symposia and 23 books—including recently Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (2000, 2d. ed. 2005); Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (2002); Sex, Marriage and Family Life in John Calvin’s Geneva (2005); Modern Christian Teachings on Law, Politics, and Human Nature, 2 vols. (2006); God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition (2006); The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (2007); Christianity and Law: An Introduction (2008); and Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered (2009). His writings have appeared in 10 languages, and he has lectured through North America, Western Europe, Japan, Israel and South Africa. He has been selected 10 times by the Emory Law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won dozens of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research.  

Barbara B. Woodhouse

Professor Barbara Bennett Woodhouse has devoted her career to advocacy for children's rights. She developed one of the earliest curricula for teaching lawyering for children. In addition to many scholarly articles, she has authored numerous appellate briefs arguing for children's rights in custody, adoption and foster care cases. In 2002, she led the ABA delegation to the UN Special Session on Children and, in 2005, was named by the ABA Human Rights Journal as a Human Rights Hero for her work on behalf of children. She continues her work as a senior faculty advisor of the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic.