Melissa Frydman

Director of Clinical Education
Clinical Professor of Law
Family Advocacy Clinic Director


Professor Melissa Frydman joined the University of Illinois in April 2010 to develop and direct the new Family Advocacy Clinic, which advocates for the rights of parents and children in juvenile abuse and neglect cases in Champaign County. Beginning in fall 2016 Professor Frydman was named Director of Clinical Education. In this capacity, she oversees the entire clinical program, faculty, and staff. Immediately prior to joining our clinical program, Professor Frydman was an Acting Assistant Professor in the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law for three years.

Professor Frydman has spent her career advocating for children and those who cannot afford legal representation. Prior to teaching, Professor Frydman represented children through legal services organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area for seven years. She was a Senior Staff Attorney and Director of the Dependency Project at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco and was an Equal Justice Works fellow and Staff Attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland. In these positions, she provided direct legal representation to youth in matters including foster care, guardianship, school discipline, special education, and immigration. Her work included an interdisciplinary approach involving collaboration with social workers.

Professor Frydman earned her undergraduate degree in English with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After college, she taught elementary school in Compton, California through the Teach for America program. She earned her JD from Yale Law School, where she was extensively involved in Yale’s clinical program, acting as a student attorney in the Advocacy for Parents and Children, Landlord-Tenant, and Disability Law clinics.


JD Yale Law School
BA University of California, Berkeley

Areas of Expertise

Children and the Law
Child Welfare
Juvenile Courts


Clinical Assistantships
Family Advocacy Clinic

Selected Publications

School Discipline 101: Students’ Due Process Rights in Expulsion Hearings, 40 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 370 (Sept.-Oct. 2006) (with Shani King)