Faculty Stories

Professor Susan Mangold co-edits the go-to casebook for children's law

Professor Mangold was selected as co-editor of the 5th edition of the casebook Children and the Law: Doctrine, Policy and Practice, long the standard choice for law professors teaching in the area.

Children and the Law: Doctrine, Policy and Practice (West Publishing) had gone through four editions before Professor Susan V. Mangold got the call: Would she consider becoming a co-editor, contributing to a thorough revamping of the popular casebook for its fifth edition.

She would and she did. Now the newly published casebook, weighing in at 1,197 pages, stands as testament to the major work involved in updating and renewing the text, a standard choice for law professors teaching a survey course in children and the law.

“We chose some new cases, retained some cases, updated all the statistics – and it's a pretty statistics-rich book,” Mangold says. “All comments have new information from recent cases, reflecting statutory changes, foundation reports, ABA reports. Anything that happened in last three years in this area of law is edited down and contained in the book.”

Mangold, whose particular interests are in the foster care system and in child abuse and neglect, made substantial changes to the book chapters dealing with those areas. But her involvement reached throughout the casebook as she worked with co-editor Douglas E. Abrams of the University of Missouri School of Law. (Abrams' co-editor for the first four editions, Professor Sarah H. Ramsey of the Syracuse University College of Law, is entering retirement.)

Working with three student research assistants – Daniel DeVoe '14, Valerie Stanek '14 and current third-year student Ann Dillon – Mangold reviewed the literature and case law for the chapters for which she was primary editor. She was particularly interested, she says, in incorporating information from public health studies on children in transitional situations.

For example, she drew on the massive Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, a joint effort of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the health care company Kaiser Permanente, to show that childhood trauma puts people at significant health, social and economic risk.

“This isn't information that lawyers typically think about,” Mangold says. “It's important information, but it's also a great advocacy tool, if you can show a judge that this child might suffer significant trauma from being moved around or removed from the home or whatever, events that have been shown to increase the risk for pulmonary and heart disease.” Similarly, the book cites recent U.S. Supreme Court cases arising from the juvenile justice system that take into account the neuroscience of how children's brains develop.

The project comes in three parts: the casebook; a comprehensive teacher's manual with thoughts about how professors might use the book most effectively in the classroom to develop the next generation of children's lawyers; and a “nutshell” version appropriate for use with undergraduates studying children and the law.

In the casebook, chapters cover children's legal status, the child-parent relationship, the challenge of representing children, abuse and neglect, foster care, adoption, medical decision-making, financial responsibility, the regulation of children's conduct and delinquency.

The teacher's manual, Mangold says, was “one of fun things for me, because new faculty and faculty using the book for the first time have been in touch with me, and we've walked through the book together and talked about how to present it. … I'm really happy to have this project, both because children and the law is my area and it's wonderful to be able to think about how to organize the material, but also because I love teaching.”

Indeed, Mangold's dedication in the book is “To the future attorneys who will learn from this book and the young clients they will represent.”

“It's not just a collection of information,” she says. “I really hope it will influence the attorneys working in this area for the next generation and how might they be thinking about these topics.”

She'll continue as a co-editor of the casebook for future revisions, and says the process should be less cumbersome from here on out, because she'll collect material – new cases, new research – as it becomes available, rather than having to perform a comprehensive review.