Nancy Polikoff

Visiting Professor
B.A. University of Pennsylvania, 1972
M.A. George Washington University, 1980
J.D. Georgetown Universtiy Law Center, 1975


Nancy Polikoff is Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law where she teaches Family Law and Sexuality and the Law.  She has also taught civil procedure, seminars on feminist theory and family law, and a public interest law clinic. She will be visiting at UCLA for AY 2011-12 as the McDonald/Wright Chair in Law and Faculty Chair of the Williams Institute.  Before joining the WCL faculty in 1987, Prof. Polikoff co-founded the Washington, DC Feminist Law Collective and then supervised family law programs at the Women’s Legal Defense Fund (now the National Partnership on Women and Families).  In 1976, she co-authored one of the first law review articles on custody rights of lesbian mothers.  She has been writing about, teaching about, and working on litigation and legislation about LGBT families ever since.  Her articles have appeared in numerous law reviews, and her book, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage:  Valuing All Families under the Law, was published in 2008. Prof. Polikoff’s article reflecting on her experiences being a lawyer for a social movement, Am I My Client?: The Role Confusion of a Lawyer Activist, 31 Harv. Civ. Rts.-Civ. Lib. L. Rev 445 (1996), has been assigned in numerous law school courses.
Prof. Polikoff is a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In 2009, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the DC Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance. 
In 2011, she received the National LGBT Bar Association’s Dan Bradley Award. Prof. Polikoff holds a JD from Georgetown and a Masters Degree in Women’s Studies from George Washington University.  You can read Prof. Polikoff’s blog at