Guggenheim, Martin 1946–

views updated

Guggenheim, Martin 1946–


Born May 29, 1946, in New York, NY; son of Werner and Fanny Guggenheim; married Denise Silverman (an attorney), May 29, 1969; children: Jamie, Courtney, Lesley. Education: State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1968; New York University, J.D., 1971.


Home—Merrick, NY. Office—New York University School of Law, 245 Sullivan St., Ste. 620, New York, NY 10012. E-mail—[email protected]


Attorney, educator, and writer. Legal Aid Society, New York, NY, staff attorney, 1971-73; New York University, New York, NY, clinical instructor, 1973-75, assistant clinical professor, 1975-78, associate clinical professor, 1978-80, clinical professor of law, beginning 1980, then Fiorello LaGuardia professor of clinical law, also former director of Juvenile Rights Clinic, beginning 1973; American Civil Liberties Union, director of Juvenile Rights Project, 1975-76, staff attorney, 1976-79. Work related activities also include administration services for Children's Services, New York, NY; Board of Advisory member for Child Welfare Watch; and Children's Program Advisory Committee member for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. Also president of National Coalition for Child Protection Reform and consultant to Clinical Law Review.


American Bar Association (member of Criminal Justice Section; Juvenile Justice Subcommittee); American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (consultant to Special Concerns of Children Committee).


Legal Teaching Award, New York University School of Law, 1996; Kathryn A. McDonald Award, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 2000.


(With Alan N. Sussman) The Rights of Parents, Avon (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Alan N. Sussman) The Rights of Young People, Bantam (New York, NY), 1985.

Child Abuse and Neglect: Protecting the Child, Defending the Parent, Representing the State, Practising Law Institute (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Randy Hertz and Anthony G. Amsterdam) Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Court, American Law Institute (Philadelphia, PA), 1991, 2nd edition, National Juvenile Defender Center (Philadelphia, PA): ALI-ABA (Washington, DC), 2008.

(With Alexander Dylan Lowe and Diane Curtis) The Rights of Families: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to the Rights of Family Members Today, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1996.

What's Wrong with Children's Rights, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Contributor to books, including A Handbook of Divorce and Custody: Forensic, Developmental and Clinic Perspectives, edited by Linda Gunsberg and Paul Hymowitz, Analytic Press, 2005. Contributor to law journals and popular magazines, including New Catholic World, Journal of Social Policy and the Law, University of Chicago Law Forum, Arizona Law Review, Hofstra Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and Fordham Law Review.


Martin Guggenheim told CA: "My motivation to write is based on my desire to effect social change through law. Litigation is one means by which to effect change, but it is limited. Writing is another means I have explored."

Considered among the nation's foremost experts on children's rights and family law, Guggenheim has written or cowritten several books focusing on these topics. "One of the realities of child welfare in this country is that it is an experiment, an experiment in the human condition," the author notes in an interview on the Public Broadcasting Services Frontline Web site. "We aren't doing very much follow-up to ask the question, what is the long-term impact on children removed from parents?"

In What's Wrong with Children's Rights, the author looks closely at the concept of "children's rights" and some of the most significant debates in the children's rights movement, particularly those that treat children's interests as antagonistic to those of their parents. "Guggenheim, in his highly thought-provoking book, takes issue with the notion that a child's ‘rights’ necessarily coincide with the child's ‘interests,’" noted Dorinda N. Noble in the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare.

In his book, the author examines such issues as foster care, adoption, and visitation rights and argues that efforts in "children's rights" often act as a screen for the interests of adults, who sometimes may have something to gain other than just the welfare of the children for whom they claim to speak. The author also discusses how standards focusing on the "best interests of the child" can and often do fail as a meaningful test for determining how to best decide disputes involving children.

What's Wrong with Children's Rights has generally received positive reviews for the author's examination of laws and beliefs concerning children's rights. New York Law Journal contributor Theo Liebmann noted that the author "makes a passionate and compelling call to policy makers, practitioners and scholars who care about children to shift the course of our dialogue on how best to serve children's interests."



Harvard Law Review, March, 2006, review of What's Wrong with Children's Rights, p. 1639.

Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, December, 2006, Dorinda N. Noble, review of What's Wrong with Children's Rights, p. 200.

New York Law Journal, June 16, 2005, Theo Liebmann, review of What's Wrong with Children's Rights.

New York Times, December 30, 1980, review of The Rights of Parents, p. 10.

ONLINE, (May 6, 2008), brief biography of author.

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform Web site, (May 6, 2008), profile of author.

New York University School of Law Web site, (May 6, 2008), faculty profile of author.

Public Broadcasting Services Frontline Web site, (May 6, 2008), "Interview: Martin Guggenheim."

About this article

Guggenheim, Martin 1946–

Updated About content Print Article