Susan Frelich Appleton

Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law


A.B., 1970, Vassar College
J.D., 1973, University of California - Berkeley

Curriculum Vitae





Bev Owens- (314) 935-6482

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-6449
Email: appleton@wulaw.wustl.edu  


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 576

Courses Taught

Adoption & Assisted Reproduction
Criminal Law
Conflict of Laws
Family Law
Gender, Sex, and Law (seminar)
Regulating Sex (interdisciplinary seminar)
Reproductive Control


Susan Frelich Appleton, the Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, is a nationally known expert in family law. Her research, scholarship, and writings address such legal issues as adoption, reproductive rights, parentage, gender, and sexualities. She has co-authored a family law casebook, now with its sixth edition forthcoming, as well as a casebook on adoption and assisted reproduction, and she has published extensively on family law matters in law reviews. A member of the American Law Institute (ALI), she sits on the ALI Council and serves as an adviser on two projects, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses and Restatement of the Law: Children & the Law. Previously, Professor Appleton held the office of Secretary of ALI (2004-13) and sat on the Board of Directors of the American Bar Foundation (2004-14). She has also served as an adviser to the ALI’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution and worked as consultant to the New Jersey Bioethics Commission, assisting that agency in its recommendations for laws addressing surrogacy arrangements. Professor Appleton is a recipient of the law school’s Triennial Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award. She was the John S. Lehmann Research Professor in 2009–10 and held the Israel Treiman Faculty Fellowship during 2012-13. She is a prolific speaker and panelist on family law and related topics at workshops, conferences, and other venues, including UC Davis Law School, where she delivered the Brigitte Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law in March 2013, and Fudan University in Shangai, where she spoke about feminism and family law at a conference on feminist jurisprudence in the US and Asia in May 2015. At the law school, she served as vice dean (2013-14) and associate dean of faculty (1998-2003). In 2010-12, she served as Washington University’s first Ombuds, facilitating the informal resolution or management of faculty-related conflicts or concerns on the Danforth Campus. Before becoming a law professor, she clerked for law school alumnus, the Hon. William H. Webster, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Representative Publications

Forthcoming Scholarship

  • "Going Wild: Law and Literature and Sex" (with Susan E. Stiritz), forthcoming in 69 Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (invited for special issue on feminist legal theory and peer reviewed).


  • Modern Family Law: Cases and Materials (with D. Kelly Weisberg, Aspen Publishers – multiple editions and supplements, including 5th edition in 2013 & 6th edition forthcoming in 2016)
  • Adoption and Assisted Reproduction: Families under Construction (casebook, with D. Kelly Weisberg, Aspen Publishers, 2009)

Recent Articles and Essays

  • "Between the Binaries: Exploring the Legal Boundaries of Nonanonymous Sperm Donation," 49 Family Law Quarterly 93 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "Surrogacy and Windsor’s Penumbras," 90 Washington Law Review Online 43 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "Leaving Home? Domicile, Family, and Gender," 47 UC Davis Law Review 1453 (2014) [SSRN]
  • "Restating Childhood," 79 Brooklyn Law Review 525 (2014) [SSRN]