Paul L. Tractenberg
Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and Alfred C. Clapp Distinguished Public Service Professor of Law
(on leave 2013-2014 academic year)
Professor Tractenberg earned his B.A. from Wesleyan and his J.D. from the University of Michigan, where he was associate editor of the Law Review. He joined the faculty in 1970, after being associated with two major New York City law firms, the Peace Corps, and the Governor’s Committee to Study New York Human Rights Laws. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and papers on education law; a frequent lecturer; and consultant and adviser to many national, regional, and state organizations and agencies. In 1973, Professor Tractenberg established the Education Law Center, a public interest law project, and served as its director for three years. He is involved in a number of landmark constitutional cases about public education, especially Abbott v. Burke, which New Jersey judges and lawyers voted overwhelmingly the most important state court decision of the 20th century. (A 12/20/09 Record op-ed noted Abbott’s role in the State’s recent educational successes.)
In September 2000, Professor Tractenberg established and continues to serve as co-director of the Institute on Education Law and Policy (IELP), an interdisciplinary research project at Rutgers University–Newark. He is also co-director of the Newark Schools Research Collaborative, a major project of IELP.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Professor Tractenberg built upon long-standing interests in the lawyering process and in dispute resolution by teaching three seminars, by serving as faculty adviser to the law school’s regional and national championship negotiations and client counseling teams, and by writing and consulting in the field. He is the author of a lawyer’s deskbook on alternate and complementary dispute resolution.
In 2008-9, Professor Tractenberg taught a special year-long Centennial Seminar about the law school, and he and his students authored a book titled A Centennial History of Rutgers Law School in Newark: Opening a Thousand Doors. It was published by the History Press in 2010. Professor Tractenberg’s second book inspired by the Centennial was published by Rutgers University Press in 2013. It is titled Courting Justice: Ten New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation. Most of the chapter authors and most of the featured cases have a substantial Rutgers Law School connection.
In his spare time, Professor Tractenberg dotes on his four young grandchildren and is an avid long–distance bicyclist.