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 2003, he obtained a Ph.D. in History, writing a dissertation on the law and popular culture of divorce in America in the 20th century.
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. In 1997, he published Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in Twentieth-Century America. In 2004, he gave the Peter E. Herman Prize for Literary Excellence Lecture: Unbundling Marriage: Interpreting the Legal and Cultural Changes in Family Structure. In 2005, Prof. DiFonzo gave the Hofstra University Distinguished Faculty Lecture: The Surprising Unreliability of DNA Evidence: A Tale of Bad Labs and Good Statutes of Limitations. He served as the Co-Reporter (with Prof. Mary E. O’Connell) of the Family Law Education Reform (FLER) Project, a national effort to improve family law teaching, and for which he and Prof. O’Connell jointly received the 2006 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award. He is currently serving as the Co-Reporter for the Shared Parenting Project, sponsored by the Association of Families & Conciliation Courts.
Recent articles and essays include How Marriage Became Optional: Cohabitation, Gender, and the Emerging Functional Norms;A Vision for Collaborative Practice: The Final Report of the Hofstra Collaborative Law Conference; 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. He and Ms. Stern are currently at work on a new book, Intimate Associations: The Law and Culture of Families in Twenty-First Century America.
In his spare time, he sings in a church choir, roots valiantly for the Mets, and plays as much piano as he can.