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Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice



Melissa Murray Professor of Law

Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 2006. She teaches Family Law, Criminal Law, and Advanced Topics in Family Law. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Murray served for two years as an associate in law at Columbia Law School.

Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal. While in law school, she earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar and was a semifinalist of Morris Tyler Moot Court.

Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray is a member of the New York bar.

Her research focuses on the roles that criminal law and family law play in articulating the legal parameters of intimate life, and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the criminal regulation of sex and sexuality, and the legal recognition of caregiving. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others.

Her article, “Marriage as Punishment”, won the Association of American Law Schools’ 2010-2011 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. “Marriage as Punishment” was also selected by the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Women in Legal Education as a winner of the 2010-2011 New Voices in Gender Studies scholarly paper competition. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School’s Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice.