Karen Czapanskiy

Professor Emeritus of Law




(410) 706-2516


(410) 706-6644

Photo of Karen Czapanskiy


  • BA, 1969, University of California, Berkeley
  • JD, 1973, Georgetown University

Professor Czapanskiy joined the faculty of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law in 1983.  During her early years at the law school, she and her clinic students created a full-service program for women who had been abused by an intimate partner, representing them in criminal cases and family law matters, undertaking legislative advocacy and staffing a clemency project for women imprisoned for killing an abusive partner.  Later, she worked with clinic students, lawyers at the Homeless Persons Representation Project and other faculty to help women faced with the impacts of welfare reform on them and their families.  Her work in practice informed multiple publications on domestic violence, family law, welfare reform and gender bias.  More recently, she has been writing about law and policy as they affect families raising children with special needs.  Professor Czapanskiy teaches courses in family law and property and seminars on families raising special needs children.

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Czapanskiy clerked for the Honorable Rita C. Davidson, the first woman appointed to an appellate bench in Maryland.  Before joining the faculty, Professor Czapanskiy was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, taught at the University of Hawaii Law School and the Washington College of Law.  Since joining the faculty in 1983, Professor Czapanskiy has served as the reporter for the Maryland Joint Special Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts and as a member of the Charter Review Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland.  She held the William J. Maier, Jr., Chair at West Virginia University College of Law, and has visited at the Washington College of Law of American University and the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America.  Beginning in the mid-1980s, she was one of the organizers of the Maryland/DC/Virginia Women Law Teachers Group. In 1992, she chaired of the Section on Women in Legal Education of the AALS.   She is a member of the American Law Institute and the Prytanean Society.  Professor Czapanskiy spent the fall semester of 1994 as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa.  She is a member of the American Law Institute and the Prytanean Society.  Since 2002, she has been active in electoral politics at the local and national levels.


Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems (5th ed. 2015) (with others).

Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems (5th ed. 2010) (with others). Read Full Text.

Book Chapters

Stanley v. Illinois, Concurring Opinion of Justice Czapanskiy, in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court 137 (Linda Berger et al. eds., 2016).

Gender Equality under the Constitutions of South Africa and the United States, in The Constitution of South Africa from a Gender Perspective (S. Liebenberg ed., 1995).

Child Support, Visitation, Shared Custody and Split Custody, in Child Support Guidelines: The Next Generation (Margaret Campbell Haynes ed., 1994). Read Full Text.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: The Role of the Non-Economic Contribution of the Physical Custodian in Establishing Child Support, in Critical Issues, Critical Choices: Special Topics in Child Support Guidelines Development (1987). Read Full Text.


The Constitution, Rape, and Coerced Intercourse: No Protection Required, 35 Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 83 (2022). Read Full Text.

Vaccination, Disabled Children and Parental Income, 24 Journal of Health Care Law & Policy 91 (2021). Read Full Text.

Tax Policy, Structured Settlements and Factoring: Making Exploitation Easy and Profitable, 93 University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 455 (2020). Read Full Text.

Preschool and Lead Exposed Kids: The IDEA Just Isn't Good Enough, 35 Touro Law Review 171 (2019). Read Full Text.

Structured Settlement Sales and Lead-Poisoned Sellers: Just Say No, 36 Virginia Journal of Environmental Law 1 (2018). Read Full Text.

Kids and Rules: Challenging Individualization in Special Education, 45 Journal of Law & Education 1 (2016). Read Full Text.

The Shared Custody Child Support Adjustment: Not Worth the Candle, 49 Family Law Quarterly 409 (2015). Read Full Text.

Special Kids, Special Parents, Special Education, 47 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 733 (2014). Read Full Text.

1992: A Year of Women, Bravery, and Growth, 80 UMKC Law Review 751 (2012).

Disabled Kids and Their Moms: Caregivers and Horizontal Equity, 19 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 43 (2012). Read Full Text.

Chalimony: Seeking Equity Between Parents of Children with Disabling Conditions and Chronic Illnesses, 34 N.Y.U. Journal of Law & Social Change 253 (2010). Read Full Text.

The Right of Public Participation in the Law-Making Process and the Role of the Legislature in the Promotion of This Right, 19 Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law 1 (2008) (with Rashida Manjoo). Read Full Text.

Book Review, 45 Family Court Review 335 (2007) (reviewing Linda C. McClain, The Place of Families: Fostering Capacity, Equality, and Responsibility). Read Full Text.

To Protect and Defend: Assigning Parental Rights When Parents Are Living in Poverty, 14 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 943 (2006). Read Full Text.

Unemployment Insurance Reform for Moms, 44 Santa Clara Law Review 1093 (2004). Read Full Text.

Why Does It Matter Where I Live? Welfare Reform, Equal Protection, and the Maryland Constitution, 63 Maryland Law Review 655 (2004). Read Full Text.

Domestic Violence and the Maryland Family Violence Option, 2 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy, and the Law 447 (2003). Read Full Text.

Parents, Children, and Work-First Welfare Reform: Where is the C in TANF?, 61 Maryland Law Review 101 (2002). Read Full Text.

Clinical Legal Education: An Annotated Bibliography (2d edition), 7 Clinical Law Review at S1 (2001) (with J.P. Ogilvy). Read Full Text.

ALI Child Support Principles: A Lesson in Public Policy and Truth-Telling, 8 Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy 259 (2001). Read Full Text.

Musing about Community, or Why Is It Better to Be an American Grandparent than a Cuban Father?, 102 West Virginia Law Review 729 (2000) Read Full Text.

Interdependencies, Families and Children, 39 Santa Clara Law Review 957 (1999). Read Full Text.

Grandparents, Parents and Grandchildren: Making a Case for Interdependency in Law, 26 University of Connecticut Law Review 1315 (1994). Read Full Text.

Domestic Violence, the Family and the Lawyering Process: Lessons from Studies on Gender Bias in the Courts, 27 Family Law Quarterly 235 (1993). Read Full Text.

Anti-Harassment: Building Law School Policies, 4 Maryland Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 1 (1993). Read Full Text.

Babies, Parents, and Grandparents: A Story in Two Cases, 1 American University Journal of Gender and the Law 85 (1993). Read Full Text.

Volunteers and Draftees: The Struggle for Parental Equality, 38 UCLA Law Review 415 (1991). Read Full Text.

Gender Bias in the Courts: Social Change Strategies, 3 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1 (1990). Read Full Text.

Child Support and Visitation: Rethinking the Connections, 20 Rutgers Law Journal 619 (1989). Read Full Text.

Time Limits Under the Freedom of Information Act: Another Problematic New Property Reform, 44 Maryland Law Review 38 (1985). Read Full Text.

Grove City College v. Bell: Touchdown or Touchback?, 43 Maryland Law Review 379 (1984). Read Full Text.

Bias Impeachment and the Proposed Federal Rules of Evidence, 61 Georgetown Law Journal 257 (1972) (with John Schmertz, Jr.). Read Full Text.