A celebration of BIPOC lawyers + activists
Meet the newest cohort of ChangeLawyers 3L scholars. These students are first generation, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and others whose lived experiences and identities are significantly underrepresented in the halls of power.
Fireside Chat: Melisa Murray is the Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law ay NYU, and a leading expert on reproductive rights. She is the host of the Strict Scrutiny, the breakout hit podcast about the Surpeme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. Melissa will be interviewed Maddie Flood, a ChangeLawyers Fellow at UnCommon Law.
Meet Your Instructors
Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal. While in law school, she earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar and was a semifinalist of Morris Tyler Moot Court.
Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray is a member of the New York bar.
Murray teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice, among other courses. Murray’s research focuses on the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the marriage equality debate, the legal recognition of caregiving, and reproductive rights and justice. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She is an author of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook to cover the field of reproductive rights and justice. She has translated her scholarly writing for more popular audiences by publishing in the New York Times, Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post, and has offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including NPR, MSNBC, and PBS.
In 2013, Murray's article, "What's So New About the New Illegitimacy?," was awarded the Dukeminier Awards' Michael Cunningham Prize as one of the best sexual orientation and gender identity law review articles of 2012. Her article, "Marriage as Punishment," won the Association of American Law Schools' 2010-2011 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. "Marriage as Punishment" was also selected by the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Women in Legal Education as a winner of the 2010-2011 New Voices in Gender Studies scholarly paper competition. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School's Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. In 2011, Murray was elected to the membership of the American Law Institute.
Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Murray was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. From March 2016 to June 2017, she served as interim dean of the Berkeley Law.
Maddie Flood (she/her), Supervising Attorney & California ChangeLawyers Fellow®, holds a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law and a B.A. in Politics and African American Studies from the University of San Francisco. Maddie joined UnCommon Law in 2020. Prior to joining UnCommon Law, Maddie practiced public benefits law at Homeless Action Center. During law school Maddie was a William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholar. She served on the board of the Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project, supporting incarcerated women who were going through the dependency process. She was also a board member of the Black Law Students Association and served as a law student liaison to the Washington Supreme Court’s Minority and Justice Commission. Through the Race and Justice Clinic, Maddie supported clients in their post-conviction relief efforts and held workshops in institutions for incarcerated youth. Maddie interned with the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services and the Re-Entry and Youth Justice Units at Bay Area Legal Aid. Prior to law school, Maddie worked as the Development Manager at Rockwood Leadership Institute and served as a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow for Nancy Skinner in the California State Assembly. She was admitted to the California State Bar in December 2019.