Maxine Eichner

Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law

(919) 843-5670
5103 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall

Areas of Expertise

  • Critical Legal Theory
  • Economics and the Law
  • Family Law
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Gender and the Law
  • Political Economy and the Law
  • Public Law and Legal Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Sexuality and the Law
  • Women and the Law


Maxine Eichner, who joined the faculty in 2003, is the Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law. She writes on issues at the intersection of law and political theory, focusing particularly on families, social welfare law and policy, gender, and the relationship among the family, the workplace, and market forces. Her book, The Free-Market Family: How the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored) (Oxford Press) will be released on November 1, 2019. Eichner is also the author of The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America’s Political Ideals (Oxford, 2010), an editor of Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems (eds. Ellman et. al., Lexis, 2014), a lead author of the families chapter of the International Panel on Social Progress, and has written many law review articles. She is a member of the American Law Institute and an advisor of The Restatement of the Law: Children and the Law project. Her teaching interests include family law, gender, critical legal theory, and torts. She advocates to protect the rights of parents unjustly accused of medical child abuse. She has been recognized for other service work through receiving an Equality Champion Award from Equality North Carolina, and Professor of the Year from the law school’s pro bono program.

Eichner attended Yale College and Yale Law School, where she was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. She then held a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship though Georgetown Law School, clerked for Judge Louis Oberdorfer in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and then clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She subsequently practiced civil rights and employment discrimination law for several years at the law firm of Patterson, Harkavy, and Lawrence in Raleigh, N.C. She then entered graduate school in the political science department at UNC, eventually earning a Ph.D. in political theory while on the law school’s faculty.


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006)
  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997)
  • J.D., Yale University (1988)
  • B.A. (magna cum laude), Yale University (1984)

Selected Publications

The Privatized American Family, 93 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 213 (2017).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress | Document Link

Bad Medicine: Parents, the State, and the Charge of "Medical Child Abuse," 50 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 205 (2016).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein

Market-Cautious Feminism, 69 STUDIES IN LAW, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY 141, SPECIAL ISSUE: FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY (Austin Sarat, ed., 2016).

The Supportive State: Government, Dependency, and Responsibility for Caretaking, in CARE ETHICS AND POLITICAL THEORY (Hamington & Engster eds.) (Oxford Univ. Press 2015).
HM681.E54 2015

Review Essay, The Family in Context, 128 HARV. L. REV. 1980 (2015).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein

The Family and the Market--Redux, 13 THEORETICAL INQ. L. 97 (Rights and Obligations in the Contemporary Family: Retheorizing Individualism, Families and the State Symposium) (2012).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Families, Human Dignity, and State Support for Caretaking:  Why the United States' Failure to Ameliorate the Work-Family Conflict is a Dereliction of the Government's Basic Responsibilities, 88 N.C. L. REV. 1593 (2010).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Feminism, Queer Theory, & Sexual Citizenship, in GENDER EQUALITY: DIMENSIONS OF WOMEN'S EQUAL CITIZENSHIP, (with J. Grossman and L. McClain) (Cambridge Press 2009).
SSRN | KF478 .G46 2009

Dependency and the Liberal Polity: On Martha Fineman's The Autonomy Myth, 93 CAL. L. REV. 1285 (2005).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein

On Postmodernist Feminist Legal Theory, 36 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 1 (2001).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein

SSRN Author Page

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