Zalman Rothschild

Zalman Rothschild

Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow, Lecturer in Law

Zalman Rothschild's research focuses on the First Amendment, anti-discrimination law, and law and religion. His scholarship has appeared in Cornell Law Review, the Journal of Law and Religion, Columbia Law Review Forum, Yale Law Journal Forum, and other academic publications, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker. His writing for popular audiences has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Jewish Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. In 2023, the Law and Religion Section of the Association of American Law Schools awarded Zalman the Harold Berman Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Before becoming a Bigelow Fellow, Zalman served as a law clerk to Judge Jane Roth on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and practiced law for several years as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss. During that time, Zalman was recognized by The American Lawyer in its "Litigator of the Week" profile for winning a Fourth Amendment appeal and securing the reversal of all convictions of his client (2021) and received the "On the Rise—Top 40 Young Lawyer" award from the American Bar Association (2022).

Zalman holds a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, a PhD in Religion from New York University, an MA from Yeshiva University, and a BA from Binghamton University.


Harvard Law School

JD, magna cum laude, May 2018

New York University

PhD, Religion & Jewish Studies, January 2016

Yeshiva University

MA, Jewish Philosophy, May 2010

Binghamton University

BA, Jewish Studies & History, May 2008

Ariel Institute Rabbinical School of Jerusalem

Rabbinic Ordination, August 2006

Academic Appointments

University of Chicago Law School

Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law, 2022-2024

Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics, Pepperdine School of Law

Nootbaar Fellow, Fall 2022-Present

Center for Comparative Constitutional Law and Religion, University of Lucerne

Nonresident Fellow, 2022–Present

New York University School of Law

Adjunct Professor, Fall 2020–Present

Stanford Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Law School

Nonresident Fellow, 2018–Present

University of Lucerne School of Law

Lecturer, Summer 2021

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Adjunct Professor, Spring 2020

Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Postdoctoral Researcher, Spring 2018

Legal Experience

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Litigation Associate, 2018–2019; 2020–2022

The Honorable Jane R. Roth, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Law Clerk, 2019–2020

U.S. Department of Justice, National Courts Section

Law Clerk, Summer 2016

Journal Articles

  • "Free Exercise Partisanship," 107 Cornell Law Review 1067 (2022). www
  • "Sovereignty, Reason, and Will: Carl Schmitt and Hasidic Legal Thought," 37 Journal of Law and Religion 317 (2022). www
  • "Individualized Exemptions, Vaccine Mandates, and the New Free Exercise Clause," 131 Yale Law Journal Forum 1106 (2022). www
  • "Fulton’s Missing Question: Religious Adoption Agencies and the Establishment Clause," 100 Texas Law Review Online 32 (2021). www
  • "Free Exercise’s Lingering Ambiguity," 11 California Law Review Online 282 (2020). www
  • "Free Exercise in a Pandemic," 87 University of Chicago Law Review Online __ (2020). www
  • "Free Exercise’s Outer Boundary: The Case of Hasidic Education," 119 Columbia Law Review Forum 200 (2019). www

Book Sections

  • "American Judicial Blindness: The Myth of Objectivity in Cruzan and Heller," in The Dark Sides of the Law: Perspectives on Law, Literature, and Justice in Common Law Countries, Ge´raldine Gadbin-George, Yvonne-Marie Rogez, Armelle Sabatier & Claire Wrobel eds. (Michel Houdiard E´diteur, 2019).
  • "Hasidic Legal Philosophy," in Jewish Legal Theories: Writings on State, Religion, and Morality, Leora Batnitzky & Yonatan Y. Brafman eds. (Brandeis University Press, 2017).

Other Publications

  • "Book Review Nomi Stolzenberg & David Myers, American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, A Hasidic Village in Upstate New York," Los Angeles Review of Books, February 17, 2022. www
  • "Book Review Yoram Bilu, With Us More Than Ever: Making The Absent Rebbe Present in Messianic Chabad," Jewish Review of Books, 2021. www
  • "Religious Equality’ is Transforming American Law," The Atlantic, October 29, 2020. www
  • "Book Review Moshe Halbertal, The Birth of Doubt: Confounding Uncertainty in Early Rabbinic Literature," The Marginalia Review of Books, October 23, 2020. www
  • "Judges’ Politics Absolutely Sway How They Decide Cases," The Guardian, October 12, 2020. www
  • "Book Review Samuel Heilman, Who Will Lead Us?: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America," Jewish Review of Books, 2018. www
  • "Book Review William Kolbrener, The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition," Times Higher Education Supplement, November 10, 2016. www
  • “Carl Schmitt and Jewish Legal Theory,” invited lecture, Law, Theology, and Culture, Lund University, Sweden (October 11, 2022)
  • “Positive Pluralism and its Limits,” AALS Jurisprudence Works in Progress Workshop (August 12, 2022)
  • “American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York,” invited roundtable discussant, Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Emory University School of Law (June 17, 2022)
  • “Communal Rights, Liberal Theory, and the Right of Exit: Lessons from Hasidic Divorces in New York,” International Junior Scholar Workshop on the Role of Law in Diverse Societies, Hebrew University (June 15, 2022)
  • “The Right to Science versus a Communal Right to Religion,” invited lecture, Cambridge-Harvard Right to Science Study Group, University of Cambridge (April 26, 2022)
  •  “Positive Pluralism and its Limits,” Faculty Workshop, Michigan State Law School (March 23, 2022)
  • “Contemporary Establishment Clause Jurisprudence,” invited guest lecture for Professor John Sexton’s Relationship of Government and Religion course, NYU Abu Dhabi (March 8, 2022)
  • “Clergy Sex Abuse and Church Autonomy,” invited panelist, Religion and Sexual Abuse Conference, University of California, Riverside (March 5, 2022)
  • “Religious Corporations and Constitutional Law,” invited guest lecture for Professor Clemence Boulouque’s Religion and Public Life graduate seminar, Columbia University (Feb. 24, 2022)
  • “Child Custody’s Establishment Clause Problem,” New Directions in Law and Society Junior Scholar Workshop, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Oct. 8–9, 2021)
  • “Free Exercise Partisanship,” Faculty Workshop, Penn State Law School (July 8, 2021)
  • “Child Custody’s Establishment Clause Problem,” Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, Brooklyn Law School (June 21, 2021)
  • “Secular Education and Hasidic Schools,” invited lecture, Education Law and Policy Society, Columbia Law School (March 18, 2021) (with Professor Jeremy Kessler)
  • “Freedom of Religion and the Future of LGBTQ Rights,” invited guest lecture for Professor Clemence Boulouque’s Religion and Public Life graduate seminar, Columbia University (Feb. 9, 2021)
  • “Gay Rights versus Religious Freedom: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia,” invited lecture, Supreme Court Forum, NYU School of Law (Nov. 18, 2020)
  • “Free Exercise Partisanship,” Public Law in the Age of Trump Workshop (Professors Eric Posner & Jonathan Masur), University of Chicago Law School (Nov. 10, 2020)
  • “Religious Education and Free Exercise,” invited guest lecture for Professor Rachel Moran’s Education Law course, University of California, Irvine School of Law (August 20, 2020)
  • “The Dark Side of Private Law: Religious Divorce and the Protections of the Constitution,” Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, Brooklyn Law School (June 15–16, 2020)
  • “Federalism’s Cousin: Church Autonomy and the Clergy Sex Abuse Cases,” invited lecture, Trinity College Dublin School of Law (Feb. 26, 2020)
  • “The Lost Right to Religious Communal Identity,” Conference on Amending America’s Unwritten Constitution, Boston College Law School (May 16–17, 2019)
  • “Religious Education and Free Exercise,” invited guest lecture for Professor Nomi Stolzenberg’s Law and Religion course, University of Southern California Gould Law School (March 20, 2019)
  • “Who Owns Children?: The Right to Parental Control Under American Constitutional Law,” invited lecture, University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas (Dec. 21, 2017)

Awards and Honors

  • “Harold Berman Award for Excellence in Scholarship,” Association of American Law Schools Section on Law and Religion, 2023
  • “On the Rise—Top 40 Young Lawyer” Award, American Bar Association, 2022


  • Advisory Board Member, Jewish Law Institute, 2021–Present
  • Editor, Law and Religion, Marginalia Review, 2020–Present
  • Mentor, First Generation Professionals, NYU School of Law, 2020–Present
  • Organizer and Moderator, “Succeeding in the Law,” First Generation Professionals, NYU School of Law (Nov. 1, 2021) (with Attorney General Loretta Lynch)
  • Panel Organizer and Presenter, “Tips for Pursuing a Career in Legal Academia for First Generation/Low Income: Personal Accounts,” First Generation Professionals, NYU School of Law (Feb. 24, 2021)
  • Peer Reviewer, Journal of Law and Religion

Additional Fellowships

  • Visiting Fellow, University of Bergen, Norway, August 2022
  • Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt, June 2022
  • Glasgow Law Visiting Fellow, University of Glasgow School of Law, May 2022
  • Faculty Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute North American, 2017–2020 
  • Visiting Fellow, University of Lucerne, Summer 2018
  • Summer Academic Fellowship, Harvard Law School, Summer 2018
  • Fellow, Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law, Harvard Law School, 2016–2017
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2015–16
  • Provost’s Global Research Fellowship, Tel Aviv University-NYU, Summer 2015
  • Fellow, Jewish Law & Contemporary Civilization, Cardozo School of Law, 2013–15
  • Tikvah Scholar, Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization, NYU School of Law, 2013–14