HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —
Hofstra Law School today announced that Professor J. Herbie DiFonzo has assumed the position of Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as of July 1, 2010. In this position, Dean DiFonzo will support the academic mission of the law school by attracting and retaining top-notch faculty and working with them to ensure that the law school provides an outstanding education to its students.
"There is a great deal of energy at Hofstra Law, and I hope to tap into that energy in order to work on my principal aim: to assure that we inculcate our students with the norms of excellent law practice," said DiFonzo. "Our students expect the faculty and programs at Hofstra to prepare them to practice law in the best traditions of the profession. I want us to confidently attest that Hofstra Law produces reflective, ethical and practice-ready lawyers."
In his new capacity, Dean DiFonzo will encourage and support faculty scholarship, which he deems a vital part of Hofstra Law's academic enterprise. He also will work with fellow faculty members to enhance intellectual life at Hofstra Law by coordinating a series of events, including presentations by distinguished legal academy practitioners and in-house faculty workshops.
"However, the primary focus for students is still the classroom and the clinics," he added. "In these I will work to ensure that we educate, nurture, and demand the best from our students, so that they may emerge as wise attorneys dedicated to their clients and of service to their communities."
Dean DiFonzo's areas of scholarly interest include family law, civil procedure, juvenile justice, comparative law and legal history. Following graduation from law school, he was selected to serve as an Attorney General's Honors Law Graduate at the United States Department of Justice.
Dean DiFonzo 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.
After teaching for a year at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Dean DiFonzo began his career at Hofstra Law in 1995. From 1995-2003, he served as Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic; and from 2005-2008, he served as Director of the LL.M. Program in Family Law.
Dean DiFonzo has won numerous awards for his teaching and writing. He teaches courses in family law and civil procedure, and focuses his writing 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
, a book which began as his Ph.D. Dissertation. 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, Dean DiFonzo delivered 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 Professor 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 Professor O'Connell jointly received the 2006 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award. The Family Law Education Reform Project: Final Report
was published in 44 Fam. Ct. Rev. 524 (2006).
Dean DiFonzo's most recent articles include A Vision for Collaborative Practice: The Final Report of the Hofstra Collaborative Law Conference
; From Dispute Resolution to Peacemaking
; The Crimes of Crime Labs
; and four articles co-authored with Ruth C. Stern: 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; Addicted to Fault: Why Divorce Reform Has Lagged in New York
; and Devil in a White Coat: The Temptation of Forensic Evidence in the Age of CSI
. He is currently at work on a new book, tentatively entitled Intimate Associations: The Law and Culture of Families in Twenty-First Century America