Emily Buss

Emily Buss

Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law

Emily Buss's research interests include children's and parents' rights and the legal system's allocation of responsibility for children’s development among parent, child, and state. In recent years, she has focused particular attention on the developmental impact of court proceedings on children in the juvenile justice system. She currently serves as an Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute's Restatement on Children and the Law. In addition to courses focused on the subjects of her research, Buss teaches civil procedure, evidence, and family law.

Buss received her BA summa cum laude from Yale University in 1982 and her JD from Yale Law School in 1986. After graduating from law school, Buss clerked for Judge Louis H. Pollak of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the US Supreme Court. From 1989 to 1990, Buss worked as a staff attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. In 1990, Buss joined the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, and from 1993 to 1996, she served as the Center's deputy director.


Yale Law School
JD, 1986

Yale University
BA, summa cum laude in English, 1982

  • Phi Beta Kappa


The University of Chicago Law School
Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law, 2007-present
Kanter Director of Policy Initiatives, 2005-2011
Professor of Law, 2001-2006
Faculty Director of Academic Affairs, 2001-2003
Assistant Professor of Law, 1996-2001

Juvenile Law Center Philadelphia, PA
Deputy Director, 1993-1996
Staff Attorney, 1990-1993

Child Advocacy Unit, Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. Baltimore, MD
Staff Attorney, 1989-1990

Justice Harry A. Blackmun, United States Supreme Court
Law Clerk, 1987-1988

Judge Louis H. Pollak, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Law Clerk, 1986-1987

Books (Author)

  • Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law (Tentative Draft)2019).
  • From Foster Care to Adulthood: The University of Chicago Law School Foster Care Project’s Protocol for Reform (2008).cu

Books (Editor)

  • The Law and Child Development. (Ashgate, 2010) (edited with Mavis Maclean). cu

Journal Articles

  • "The Law's Role in Raising Children," 46 Ohio Northern University Law Review 267 (2020).
  • "The Divisive Supreme Court," 2016 Supreme Court Review 25 (2017). cu
  • "Developmental Jurisprudence," 88 Temple Law Review 741 (2016). cu
  • "Escaping the American Blot? A Comparative Look at Federalism in Australia and the United States through the Lens of Family Law," 48 Cornell Journal of International Law 105 (2015) (with William Buss). cu www
  • "An Off-Label Use of Parental Rights? The Unanticipated Doctrinal Antidote for Professor Mnookin's Diagnosis," 77 Law & Contemporary Problems 1 (2014). cu www
  • "The Gap in Law between Developmental Expectations and Educational Obligations," 79 University of Chicago Law Review 59 (2012). cu
  • "Law and Child Development in the UK and the US," 6 Journal of Children's Services 236 (2011) (with Mavis Maclean). cu
  • "Failing Juvenile Courts and What Lawyers and Judges Can Do about It," 6 Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy 318 (2011). cu
  • "Juvenile Court for Young Adults? How Ongoing Court Involvement Can Enhance Foster Youth's Chances for Success," 48 Family Court Review 262 (2010). cu www
  • "Rethinking the Connection Between Developmental Science and Juvenile Justice," 76 University of Chicago Law Review 493 (2009). cu
  • "What the Law Should (And Should Not) Learn from Child Development Research," 38 Hofstra Law Review 13 (2009). cu
  • "Allocating Developmental Control among Parent, Child and the State," 2004 University of Chicago Legal Forum 27 (2004). cu
  • "The Speech-Enhancing Effect of Internet Regulation," 79 Chicago-Kent Law Review 103 (2004). cu www
  • "Radical Change through Conventional Means," 12 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 577 (2004). cu www
  • "Constitutional Fidelity through Children's Rights," 2004 Supreme Court Review 355 (2004). cu www
  • "The Missed Opportunity in Gault," 70 University of Chicago Law Review 39 (2003). cu www
  • "Parental Rights," 88 Virginia Law Review 635 (2002). ssrn cu
  • "Children's Associational Rights?: Why Less is More," 11 William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal 1101 (2002). cu www
  • "The Adolescent's Stake in the Allocation of Educational Control between Parent and State," 67 University of Chicago Law Review 1233 (2000). cu
  • "The Parental Rights of Minors," 48 Buffalo Law Review 785 (2000). cu
  • "Adrift in the Middle: Parental Rights after Troxel v. Granville," 2000 Supreme Court Review 279 (2000). cu
  • "Too Young to Be Rehabilitated - Comments on Lipsey's 'Can Rehabilitative Programs Reduce the Recidivism of Juvenile Offenders?'," 6 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 653 (1999). cu
  • "Confronting Developmental Barriers to the Empowerment of Child Clients," 84 Cornell Law Review 895 (1999). cu
  • "What Does Frieda Yoder Believe?," 2 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 53 (1999). cu
  • "Parents' Rights and Parents Wronged," 57 Ohio State Law Journal 431 (1996). cu
  • "You're My What? -The Problem of Children's Misperceptions of Their Lawyers' Roles," 64 Fordham Law Review 1699 (1996). cu
  • Note, "Getting Beyond Discrimination: A Regulatory Solution to the Problem of Fetal Hazards in the Workplace", 95 Yale Law Journal 577 (1985). cu

Book Sections

  • "Developing the Free Mind," in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Education Law, Kristine L. Bowman ed. (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • "What Stands in the Way of Children's Exercise of Their Criminal Procedural Rights in the United States," in Handbook of Children's Rights: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Martin Ruck, Michelle Peterson-Badali & Michael Freeman eds. (Routledge, 2016). cu
  • "The Developmental Stakes of Youth Participation in American Juvenile Court," in International Perspectives and Empirical Findings on Child Participation, Tali Gal & Benedetta Duramy eds. (Oxford University Press, 2015). cu www
  • "Children and the First Amendment," in The Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States., David S. Tanenhaus ed. 2009). cu
  • "Parental Rights," in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion, Richard A. Schweder ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2009). cu
  • "The Law's Influence over Children's Religious Development," in Children and Childhood in American Religions, Don Browning & Bonnie Miller-McLemore eds. (Rutgers University Press, 2009). cu
  • "The Role of Lawyers in Promoting Juveniles' Competence as Defendants," in Youth on Trial, Thomas Grisso & Robert G. Schwartz eds. (University of Chicago Press, 2000). cu

Other Publications

  • "Commentary: Gov. Pritzker's Juvenile Justice Reform Helps. Now Broaden It.," Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2020. www
  • Civil Procedure (Wolters Kluwer, 2013) (casebook curator). cu
  • "In the Pledge Case, Timing is Everything," Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2002, at p. B9. www
  • "Court is Moving in Wrong Direction on Parents' Rights," Chicago Tribune, June 7, 2000, at p. 21. www
  • "Doomed to Failure, A Child Welfare System That's in No One's Best Interest," Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1999, at p. 21. www

"Youth Engagement in Delinquency Proceedings," with Judge Jane Carroll of the Milwaukee County Juvenile Court, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Conference on Juvenile Justice, February 2017

"Children as Decision-Makers: Legal, Social, and Scientific Perspectives," Panel, AALS Annual Meeting, 2017

"Developmental Jurisprudence," Temple Law School Symposium, Court-Involved Youth in the 21st Century, Empowerment v. Protection, October 2015

"Are Parents’ Rights in Children’s Interests?," Second Annual Joanne Ross Wilder Memorial Lecture, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, November 2014

"Court Reform in the Juvenile Justice System, Can a Change in Process Enhance Juvenile Offenders’ Prospects?," The Future of Juvenile Justice Symposium at the University of North Carolina April 2014; Chicago Best Ideas Series at the University of Chicago Law School February 2014

"The Developmental Stakes of Youth Participation in Juvenile Court," Authors Conference at University of Haifa and Hebrew University, October 2013

"Parents’ Rights and Children’s Interests," Keynote Address of Annual Family Law Conference at University of Haifa, June 2013

"The Hazards of Basing Juvenile Justice Policy on Developmental Science," Missouri Law Review Symposium on the implications of Miller v. Alabama 2013; Symposium on Juveniles and the Supreme Court at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles October 2012

"Escaping the American Blot? A Comparative look at Federalism in Australia and the United States through the Lens of Family Law," University of Chicago Law School 2013; International Society of Family Law North American Regional Conference at the University of Iowa June 2012; University of New South Wales Faculty Workshop February 2012 (with William Buss)

"What is Education?," University of Chicago Symposium on Education, June 2011

"Failing Juvenile Courts," Seize the Moment: Justice for the Child Symposium at Northwestern University School of Law, October 2010

"How to Think about 'Abuse' and 'Neglect' at the Yearning for Zion Ranch," William and Mary School of Law Symposium on Families, Fundamentalism, and the First Amendment, November 2009

"What the Law Should (and Should Not) Learn from Child Development Research," AALS Annual Meetings January 2011 (significantly modified); Hofstra Law School’s Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professorship Lecture April 2009

"Due Process For Children: Designing A Court Process That Takes Account Of Their Development," Wyoming Children’s Justice Conference June 2009; University of Michigan Law School Johnson Workshop February 2009

"Legal and Medical Perspectives on Sperm and Egg Donation," University of Chicago Alumni Association Citifront Forum, December 2008 (with Dr. David Cohen)

"The Interaction of Law and Development in the Lives of Juvenile Offenders," University of Chicago  Developmental Workshop, October 2008

"Developmental Considerations," University of Colorado Law School Voices of Youth in the Courtroom: is it Time for a Change? Symposium, November 2006

"In re Gault: A Reassessment," Chase College of Law Re-Envisioning the Role of the Juvenile Court in the 21st Century Symposium, September 2006

"The Court’s Role in Supporting Foster Youth’s Transition to Adulthood," New Mexico Summit Preserving Connections/Promoting Independence September 2006; Temple University School of Law School March 2006 

"Turning Best Ideas into Practice: Chicago's Policy Initiative on Foster Care," University of Chicago Law School, November 2005

"When Children's and Adults' Speech Rights are at Odds," Michigan State University College of Law, February 2005

"Radical Change Through Conventional Means," University of Virginia Conference on the State Construction of Families, October 2004

"Address to the Entering Class," University of Chicago Law School, 22 September 2005

"Constitutional Fidelity through Children's Rights," University of Chicago Chicago's Best Ideas Series April 2004; Syracuse University Law School March 2004 

"The Relationship Between Procreative and Parental Rights under the Constitution," University of Chicago Law and Philosophy Workshop March 2004; Syracuse University Law School Faculty Workshop March 2004

"Assessing the State's Opportunities for Developmental Influence," University of Chicago Legal Forum Symposium, October 2003

"Children's Constitutional Rights," International Society of Family Law: North American Conference, June 2003

"The Child's Constitution," University of Chicago Loop Luncheon, May 2003

"The Speech Enhancing Effect of Internet Regulation," Association of American Law Schools Panel Presentation, January 2003

"Children's Representation, The Achilles Heel of Children's Rights," 12th Annual International Congress on Family Law in Havana, Cuba, September 2002

"Children's Rights on Children's Terms," University of Chicago Law School Workshop, July 2002

"Children's Associational Rights? Why Less is More," William and Mary School of Law Symposium on the Relationship Rights of Children, March 2002

"The Missed Opportunity in Gault," University of Florida Inaugural Conference on Children and the Law, December 2001

"In or Out? Imposing Constitutional Constraints on the State's Authority to Allocate Pieces of Parenthood," Brigham Young University Law School Symposium on the ALI Family Dissolution Principles, February 2001

"Adrift in the Middle: Parental Rights after Troxel v. Granville," Rutgers Law School Symposium on the Supreme Court's decision in Troxel v. Granville, October 2000

"Ethical Issues in the Representation of Child Clients," Presentation to Cook County domestic relations lawyers and judges, 6 July 2000

"The Parental Rights of Minors," Buffalo Law School Symposium on the Urban Girl, April 2000

"Children as Parties, Victims and Witnesses," Presentation to Judges at Illinois Judicial Conference's Education Conference, 2000

"Without Peers? The Missing Piece in the Courts' (and the Philosophers') Analysis of Parental Claims to Educational Control," University of Chicago Law School Faculty Workshop, 1999

"What Does Frieda Yoder Believe?," University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Symposium on the Constitutional Rights of Children, 1999; University of Chicago Law and Philosophy Workshop, 1999

"Confronting Developmental Barriers to the Empowerment of Child Clients," University of Chicago Law School Faculty Workshop, 1998

"Too Young to be Rehabilitated?," Conference on Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Reform at University of Virginia Center for Children, Families and the Law, 1998

"The Role of Lawyers in Promoting Juveniles' Competence as Defendants," Meeting of authors for Youth on Trial convened by MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, 1998

"Whose Religious Autonomy are we Protecting?," Symposium on Religion, Law and the Construction of Identities, 1997

"Parents' Rights and Parents Wronged," Meeting the Basic Needs of Children: Defining Public and Private Responsibilities Symposium at Ohio State University College of Law, 1995

"Sibling Rights," Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The Evolution of Children's Rights Symposium, Temple Law Review, 1995


  • Speaker, Graduation (June 2016); Entering Students Dinner (September 2012 & 2005); Midway Dinner (February 2008)
  • Co-convener, The Extension of Federal Foster Care Funding to Age 21 Conference (October 2007)
  • Legal Issues Affecting the Transition from Foster Care to Independence Conference (February 2006)


Law School

  • Co-Chair, Diversity Committee (2016-present)
  • Chair, Public Interest Law Committee (2016-present)

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

  • Chair, Committee on Academic and Student Affairs Board of Directors (2009-2014)
  • Member, Board of Directors (2004-2014)

The University of Chicago

  • Member, Women’s Leadership Council (2008-2011)
  • Chair, Campus Planning Committee (2008-2009)
  • Member, Task Force on Work-Life Balance (2008)

National Projects, Committees, & Boards

  • Associate Reporter, American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law, Children and the Law (2015-present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Juvenile Law Center (2014-present)
  • Member, Nebraska Juvenile Offender and GAL Studies (2008-09)