Professor Merle Weiner has taught Civil Procedure, Domestic Abuse Law, Family Law, Children and the Law, International and Comparative Family Law, Torts, Civil Procedure, and Adjudication and Courts. She has written extensively in the areas of family law, domestic abuse law, and international family law. She is considered an expert on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. She co-wrote the first U.S. casebook on international and comparative family law, entitled Family Law in the World Community, which is now in its second edition. Professor Weiner is currently writing a book entitled Pink and Blue Cement: The Status of Parent-Partner.
Q. What are your expectations of students?
A. I have very high expectations of my students. Since law students are going to be representing other people one day, I feel a responsibility to hold them to high standards. Most students appreciate the fact that they are held to high standards and work harder because of it.
Q. How does your scholarship enhance the classroom experience?
A. I teach a course on Family Law Policy. Since I have been involved in different aspects of law reform my entire career, I bring that knowledge into the classroom. I want students to see that advocacy can take many forms. For example, the other day I had my students draft a letter to the American Bar Association's Family Law Section on a proposed Model Relocation of Children Act. After they completed the task, I shared with them the letter that I had actually drafted and submitted to the ABA.
Q. What kind of service or leadership role do you play in the local or larger community?
A. I am glad that a professor's role is defined to include engaging in service, in addition to producing scholarship and teaching. Service is an important part of my work. It also enhances my teaching and scholarship, through what is known as praxis (the combination of theory and practice). I believe that the most important service, and the service that law professors are particularly suited to do, involves providing advice to individuals and lawyers who need it in one's area of expertise or working to reform the law to make it more just. Given my orientation, I often advise lawyers of domestic violence victims when the domestic violence victim is trying to escape domestic violence and is fleeing (or has fled) transnationally with her children. I also offer my expert opinion about the law to courts, prosecutors, the State Department, and other legal actors in matters involving international child abduction. I am currently trying to reform federal law on this topic because it works to the disadvantage of domestic violence victims who have fled transnationally. I am currently working with members of Congress on this issue. I was recently appointed to the State Department's Advisory Committee on Private International Law; it advises our government on many issues of private international law.