Vice Dean, Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice
Shani King
Rutgers Law School
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Courses Taught
  • Expertise


Shani M. King is Vice Dean and a Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Newark.  He attended public school just outside of Boston and later went on to attend Brown University, Harvard Law School and Oxford University.  After graduating from law school, Professor King spent a year in the Dominican Republic studying the impact of an educational reform effort on rural elementary school children. 

After his time in the Dominican Republic, Professor King practiced white-collar criminal defense and securities litigation in New York City for a large corporate law firm and later for a small white-collar litigation boutique.  Professor King then returned to public interest work in San Francisco, where he represented children in human rights, immigration, school discipline, dependency and guardianship proceedings. 

Professor King taught at the University of Florida Levin College of Law from 2007-2022, where he directed the Center on Children and Families.  At Rutgers, he teaches Family Law, Immigration Law, International Children’s Rights, Children and the Law, as well courses on Race and the Law. 

Professor King’s primary area of interest is children’s rights, but he covers other substantive areas that intersect with the rights of children, including immigration law and policy, educational law, and race and the law.  Professor King is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Children’s Rights Law and is also an award-winning author of children’s books.



Tracing the Roots of a Poisonous Tree: On the Origins and Impact of Criminal Terminology in a Civil Apprehension Scheme, 53 N.M.L.Rev. 255 (2023)[SSRN]

Contextualizing (Children’s) Immigration in Law, History, Theory and Politics, 1 Mich. St. L. Rev. 187 (2022). [SSRN]

Cooperative Federalism and SIJS, 61 B.C. L. Rev. 8 (2020) (with Nicole Silvestri Hall). [SSRN]

Unaccompanied Minors, Statutory Interpretation, and Due Process, 108 Calif. L. Rev. (2020) (with Nicole Silvestri Hall).[SSRN]

Child Migrants and America’s Evolving Immigration Mission, 32 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 59 (2019).[SSRN]

Immigration, Adoption and Our National Identity, 26 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol’y 85 (2019) (focus of a symposium at Duke Law School for which the discussants were Dean Kerry Abrams and Professor Katheryn Bradley).[SSRN]

The Intersection of Juvenile Justice and Early Childhood: How to Maximize Family Engagement, Fla. L. Rev. Forum (2019) (Shani King, Hannah Ayasse, Alyssa Mikytuck, Rachel F Barr, Jennifer F. Woolard, and Terry Harrak) (invited).[SSRN]

Life-Changing Decisions: Exploring Proximal and Distal Motivations Behind Why American Parents Adopt Domestically or Internationally, 18 Global J. Hum. Soc. Sci. 1 (2018) (Yu Zhang, Victor W. Harris, David Diehl, Shani King, Alison Schmeer, and Kyra Speegle).

Lessons from the Baby Elmo Project: Fostering the Relationships Between Incarcerated Teen Parents and Their Young Children, 93 N.C.L. Rev. 1381 (2015) (Shani King, Jennifer Woolard, and Rachel Barr) (invited).[SSRN]

The Hague Convention and Domestic Violence: Proposals for Balancing the Policies of Discouraging Child Abduction and Protecting Children from Domestic Violence, 38 Fam. L.Q. 299 (2013).[SSRN]

Alone and Unrepresented: A Call to Congress to Provide Counsel for Unaccompanied Minors, 50 Harv. J. on Legis. 331 (2013) (selected by the Immigration and Nationality Law Review as one of the best immigration articles published in 2013 and reprinted in the Immigration and Nationality Law Review; recognized by Jotwell as one of the best recent works of recent scholarship relating to family law and reviewed at representing-child-migrants-in-the-midst-of-our- border-crisis/).[SSRN]

Owning Laura Silsby’s Shame: How the Haitian Child Trafficking Scheme Embodies the Western Disregard for the Integrity of Poor Families, 25 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 1 (2012).[SSRN]

The Family Law Canon in a (Post?) Racial Era, 72 Ohio St. L.J. 575 (2011).[SSRN]

U.S. Immigration Law and the Traditional Nuclear Conception of Family: Toward a Functional Definition of Family That Protects Children’s Fundamental Human Rights, 41 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 509 (2010).[SSRN]

Challenging MonoHumanism: An Argument for Changing the Way We Think About Intercountry Adoption, 30 Mich. J. Int’l L. 413 (2009).[SSRN]

Race, Identity, and Professional Responsibility: Why Legal Services Organizations Need African American Staff Attorneys, 18 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 1 (2008).[SSRN]


 The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Rights Law (Oxford University Press) (Shani King & Jonathan Todres eds., 2020).

 Children’s Books

 Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter? (Tilbury House Publishers 2021)

 Have I Ever Told You? (Tilbury House Publishers 2019) (award-winning children’s book).

 Have I Ever Told You? (Beaver’s Pond Press 2018) (award-winning children’s book).

Book Chapters/Reports/Other Publications

 A Center on Children and Families for the Future, in Daedalus (2019) (solicited).

 Latinas and Domestic Violence: Barriers to Institutional Resources, in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latino/a Politics, Law and Social Movements (Suzanne Oboler & Deena Gonzalez eds., 2016) (solicited).

 Legal Representation of Dependent Children: A 2015 Report on Florida’s Patchwork System (co-authored with Florida’s Children First).

 A New and Different Way of Looking at Family-Based Immigration Policy: A Review of Kerry Abrams’s Article “What Makes the Family Special?,” 80 U. Chi. L. Rev. 7 (2013), Jotwell (2014).

 Breaking the Silence: Prison, Child Welfare, and the Systemic Oppression of Black Women: A Review of Dorothy Roberts’s Article “Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers,” 59 UCLA L. Rev. 1474 (2012), Jotwell (Oct. 2013).

 Legal Representation of Dependent Children: A 2012 Report on Florida’s Patchwork System (co-authored with Florida’s Children First).

 Competing Rights and Responsibilities in Intercountry Adoption: Understanding a Child’s Right to Grow up in the Context of her Family and Culture, in Taking Responsibility, Law and the Changing Family (Craig Lind, Jo Bridgeman, & Heather Keating eds., 2011) (solicited).

 School Discipline 101: An Overview of Students’ Due Process Rights in Expulsion Hearings, Clearinghouse Rev.: J. Poverty L. & Pol’y 370 (Sept.-Oct. 2006) (co-authored with Melissa Frydman).

Courses Taught
  • Child Advocacy
  • Education Law
  • Family Law
  • Human Rights
  • Immigrant Rights
  • Immigration Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Refugee Law