Faculty Profiles

generalcoursesteaching evaluations

Joan Heifetz Hollinger

Title: John and Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer in Residence (Retired); Senior Scholar, Henderson Center for Social Justice; Senior Scholar, Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice
Tel: 510-435-9036
Email Address: jhollinger@law.berkeley.edu

Joan Heifetz Hollinger is a leading scholar on adoption and child welfare law and practice, as well as on the psychosocial aspects of adoptive family relationships. She is centrally involved in efforts to overhaul the laws governing American and intercountry adoptions, and is an outspoken advocate in the courts and in the media on behalf of children who are at risk of being neglected, abused, or abandoned. She has been the Reporter for the Proposed Uniform Adoption Act, a member of the federal Children's Bureau task force on Permanency for Dependent and Foster Care Children and the State Department's advisory group on intercountry adoption, the author of the federal guide to the Multiethnic Placement Act, and a drafter of model parentage laws that protect children conceived through assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy.

While teaching at the law school and in the Legal Studies program from 1994-2014, Hollinger was at the forefront of changes in family and child welfare law that have recognized and protected children raised by lesbian and gay parents. She and her Berkeley Law students have served as amicus curiae on behalf of children in a number of precedent-setting adoption and parentage cases in state and federal courts. She wrote amicus briefs on behalf of more than sixty family law professors throughout the country in United States v. Windsor (U.S. 2013) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (U.S. 2013) and is currently submitting amicus briefs in cases challenging the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in the dozen or more cases pending in the federal Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Hollinger is the principal author and editor of the three-volume treatise Adoption Law and Practice [Lexis/Matthew Bender online 1988-2014], co-editor of  Families by Law: An Adoption Reader (NYU 2004) and the author of numerous articles and conference papers, including Interstate Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Issues in Adoption and Other Parentage Proceedings (PLI 2010).


B.A., Swarthmore College (1961)
M.A., UC Berkeley (1963)
J.D., SUNY-Buffalo (1973)

View other Faculty Profiles