Professor DiFonzo’s interests include family law, civil procedure and legal history. Following law school graduation, he was selected to serve as an Attorney General’s Honors Law Graduate at the United States Department of Justice. He had a wide-ranging two decades of law practice before becoming a full-time professor, including stints as a federal prosecutor and as a litigator in the areas of family law, criminal defense, negligence, and professional malpractice. In all, he conducted over 30 jury trials and several dozen appeals. In 1993, he obtained a Ph.D. in History, writing a dissertation on the legal and popular culture of divorce in 20th century America.
After teaching for a year at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, he began his career at Hofstra in 1995. From 1995-2003, he served as Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic. From 2005-2008, he served as Director of the LL.M. Program in Family Law. In 2010-2011, he served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Prof. DiFonzo has won numerous awards for his teaching and writing. He teaches courses in family law, civil procedure, and alternatives to litigation; and he writes primarily on issues in family law and criminal justice. He has authored two books: Intimate Associations: The Law and Culture of American Families (co-authored with Ruth C. Stern) (2013), and Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in Twentieth-Century America (1997).
He has served as a Co-Reporter for two national family law projects. These include the Shared Parenting Project, sponsored by the Association of Families & Conciliation Courts (with Prof. Marsha Kline Pruett); and the Family Law Education Reform (FLER) Project, a national effort to improve family law teaching, for which he and Prof. Mary E. O’Connell received the 2006 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award. In 2004, Prof. DiFonzo gave the Peter E. Herman Prize for Literary Excellence Lecture: Unbundling Marriage: Interpreting the Legal and Cultural Changes in Family Structure. In 2005, he presented the Hofstra University Distinguished Faculty Lecture: The Surprising Unreliability of DNA Evidence: A Tale of Bad Labs and Good Statutes of Limitations.
Recent articles and essays include Closing the Gap: Research, Policy, Practice and Shared Parenting, AFCC Think Tank Final Report (with Marsha Kline Pruett); From the Rule of One to Shared Parenting: Custody Presumptions in Law and Policy; How Marriage Became Optional: Cohabitation, Gender, and the Emerging Functional Norms; and The Crimes of Crime Labs; as well as several articles co-authored with Ruth C. Stern: Breaking the Mold and Picking Up the Pieces: Rights of Parenthood and Parentage in Nontraditional Families;The Children of Baby M.; The End of the Red Queen's Race: Medical Marijuana in the New Century; The Winding Road from Form to Function: A Brief History of Contemporary Marriage; and Devil in a White Coat: The Temptation of Forensic Evidence in the Age of CSI.
In his spare time, he sings in a church choir, roots valiantly for the Mets, and plays as much piano as he can.