The category of family law has come to encounter a wide array of legal services, including divorce, custody disputes, adoption, domestic violence, and surrogacy. Many family lawyers also include transactional work in their practice, particularly in the area of estate planning. Thomas Jefferson School of Law provides a thorough curriculum and a wealth of advanced practice opportunities, enabling graduates to develop thriving family and estate planning law practices.
Our family law and estate planning faculty members have an open-door policy and are willing to provide guidance to any student who wants to pursue an intellectual property specialty.
Professor Julie Greenberg (Sexuality, Gender & the Law, Women & the Law, Comparative Family Law) is an internationally recognized expert on the legal issues relating to gender, sex, sexual identity and sexual orientation. Her path-breaking work on gender identity has been cited by a number of state and federal courts, as well as courts in other countries. Her most recent work, Intersexuality & the Law: Sex Matters, was published in 2011 by the New York University Press.
Professor Ellen Waldman (Mediation) founded and supervises the school's mediation program, which affords students an opportunity to mediate disputes in small claims court. Prior to joining TJSL she clerked for the Honorable Myron Bright of the Eighth Circuit in Fargo, North Dakota, and practiced law in Washington, D.C., where she received mediation training. She was subsequently awarded a scholarship in 1990 to pursue an LL.M. in mediation and served as a fellow at the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy in Charlottesville, Virginia and at the medical ethics department at the University of Virginia Medical School. Professor Waldman speaks, trains and publishes in the areas of mediation and medical ethics.
Professor Steven Berenson (Family Law, Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic) has taught family law at TJSL for a decade and is the founder and supervisor of TJSL's Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, which provides a range of legal services, including a variety of family law matters, to veterans living in San Diego communities. Following graduation from law school (where he served as Trial Operations Director of the Harvard Defenders), Professor Berenson clerked for Justice Edith W. Fine of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He then spent more than five years as an Assistant Massachusetts Attorney General, where he focused on civil litigation in the areas of administrative, constitutional and consumer protection law. During that time, Professor Berenson also served as a Supreme Court Fellow with the National Association of Attorneys General. He regularly publishes work dealing with the role of lawyers in protecting individuals civil and constitutional rights.
Associate Professor Kaimipono David Wenger (Wills & Trusts) a graduate of Columbia Law School and an active blogger on the popular law site Concurring Opinions clerked for Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York. Before coming to TJSL to teach business associations, practiced corporate securities law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, in New York City.
Assistant Professor Luz Herrera (Wills & Trusts) has worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on empowerment zones and at the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. Before coming to Thomas Jefferson, she opened her own practice serving the under-privileged community in Compton, California.
Director JudyBeth Tropp (Field Placements) received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law and her bachelors degree from Smith College (cum laude). She is a former assistant district attorney with the Appeals Bureau in Brooklyn, New York and former deputy public defender, with the County of Los Angeles.
Adjunct Professor Zuzana Colaprete (Accounting for Lawyers, Federal Income Taxation, Estate Planning & Taxation, Estate & Gift Tax, Accounting for Lawyers, and Trusts) received her Masters in Law Degree in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law; her MSBA in Accounting, San Diego State University and her B.A. from Hofstra University. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a former tax attorney with the District Counsel Office of the Internal Revenue Service. Previously employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers, she is currently in private practice with an emphasis in all levels of I.R.S. representation, tax planning and estate planning.