Florence Wagman Roisman

William F. Harvey Professor of Law
2011 Chancellor's Professor
2011 John S. Grimes Fellow

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 313
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225

Phone: (317) 274-4479
Fax: (317) 278-3326
E-Mail: froisman@iupui.edu

Curriculum Vitae | Web Page


B.A. (High Honors, Distinction in English and in History, Phi Beta Kappa), 1959, University of Connecticut
LL.B. (cum laude), 1963, Harvard Law School


Property, the civil rights movement (law and social change), housing discrimination and segregation, administrative law, real estate finance, housing & development law, comparative housing law, homelessness and the law


Florence Wagman Roisman began practice at the Federal Trade Commission in 1963. In 1964, she joined the U.S. Department of Justice in the appellate section of the Civil Division. In 1967, she became staff attorney, and later managing attorney, for the D.C. Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP), initiating a 30-year association with the federally financed program of civil legal assistance to poor people. While at NLSP, she was co-counsel in several of the landlord-tenant cases that now appear in many property casebooks. Subsequent to her tenure with NLSP, she worked with the legal services program both in private practice and through the National Housing Law Project.

In 1989, she was the first recipient of the Kutak-Dodds Prize, awarded by the ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.  In 1994 she was the first recipient of the Georgetown University Law Center Equal Justice Foundation Award for Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Public Interest Law.  In 2000, she received the Thurgood Marshall Award given by the District of Columbia Bar.  Prof. Roisman received the inaugural Equal Justice Works Outstanding Law School Faculty Award in 2004 "for her dogged pursuit of equal justice and her pivotal role in nurturing a public interest ethic among law students." In 2010, the District of Columbia Legal Aid Society gave her its Servant of Justice Award "for faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in assuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice."  In 2011, she received from the National Law Income Housing Coalition the Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award.

She has taught full-time at Georgetown University Law Center and the law schools of the University of Maryland, Catholic University, and Widener University; she has taught part-time at the George Washington University National Law Center and the Antioch School of Law. In 2006 she was the J. Skelly Wright Fellow at Yale Law School. In 2002 and 2011, she received Trustees' Teaching Awards from Indiana University. Professor Roisman serves on the boards of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the Inclusive Communities Project of Dallas, TX. She previously served on the boards of the Society of American Law Teachers, the National ACLU, the District of Columbia Bar, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, of which she was a co-founder.

The substantive focus of her practice, teaching, and writing has been on low-income housing, homelessness, and housing discrimination and segregation.  Professor Roisman also supervises an externship with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana and has supervised a homeless assistance externship as well. 


Books and Chapters

  • Property and Human Rights (Carolina Academic Press 2012)
  • Teaching to Address the Foreclosure Crisis, in Vulnerable Populations and Transformative Law Teaching: A Critical Reader (Bender et al., eds., Carolina Academic Press 2011)
  • Constitutional and Statutory Mandates for Residential Racial Integration and the Validity of Race-Conscious, Affirmative Action to Achieve It, in The Integration Debate (Gregory Squires & Chester Hartman, eds., Routledge 2009).
  • Foreword and Dedication, 2004 Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law 2004)
  • Is Integration Possible? Of Course..., in Challenges to Equality: Poverty and Race in America 16 (Chester Hartman ed. 2001).
  • Legal Services Federal Practice, NLADA 1989) (associate editor).
  • Legal Strategies for Protecting Low Income Housing, America's Housing Crisis: What Is To Be Done? (Chester Hartman ed. 1983).
  • Chapters on Injunctions and Declaratory Judgments, Motions, and Advocacy, Federal Litigation Manual (1981); member, Editorial Board for 1983 and 1984 supplements.

Law Review and Journal Articles

  • Thirteen Principles for Effective Advocacy, Rutgers L. Rev., 63 Rutgers L. Rev. 985 (2011)
  • Thirteen Principles for Effective Advocacy, 63 Rutgers L. Rev. 985 (2011)
  • Tribute to Professor Lawrence B. Wilkins, 43 Ind. L. Rev. 279-80 (2010).
  • Living Together: Ending Racial Discrimination and Segregation in Housing, 41 Ind. L. Rev. 507 (2008)
  • The Right to Remain: Common Law Protections for Security of Tenure, 86 N.C. L. Rev. 817 (2008)
  • Using International and Foreign Human Rights Law in Public Interest Advocacy, 18 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 1
  • End Residential Racial Segregation: Build Communities that look like America, Harvard Law & Pol'y, Vol. 2 #1, 2008 (online at http://www.hlpronline.com/Roisman.pdf)
  • Save New Orleans’ Public Housing, 16 Poverty & Race 8 (2007).
  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in Regional Housing Markets: The Baltimore Public Housing Desegregation Litigation, 42 Wake Forest L. Rev. 333 (2007).
  • The Housing Famine for Veterans: A Call for Congressional Action, Journal of Housing & Community Development (Sept./Oct. 2005, pages 6-11)
  • National Ingratitude: The Egregious Deficiencies of the United States' Housing Programs for Veterans and the "Public Scandal" of Veterans' Homelessness, 38 Ind. L. Rev. 103 (2005)
  • Keeping The Promise: Ending Racial Discrimination and Segregation in Federally Financed Housing, 48 How. L.J. 913 (2005)
  • National Ingratiude: The Egregious Deficiencies of the United States' Housing Programs for Veterans and the "Public Scandal" of Veteran's Homelessness, 38 Ind. L. Rev. 103 (2005).
  • How Litigation Can Lead To Substantial Relief for Clients and Significant Social Change: A Review of Beth Harris, Defending The Right to a Home: The Power of Anti-Poverty Lawyers, 38 Clearinghouse Rev.759 (2005).
  • Housing, Poverty and Racial Justice: How Civil Rights Laws Can Redress the Housing Problems of Poor People Clearinghouse Rev. 21 (2002)
  • Teaching About Inequality, Race, and Property, 46 St. Louis L. Rev. 665 (2002).
  • The Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on Racially Discriminatory Donative Transfers, 53 Alabama L. Rev. 463 2002).
  • Opening the Suburbs to Racial Integration: Lessons for the 21st Century, 23 Western New England L. Rev. 65 (2001).
  • The Lawyer as Abolitionist: Ending Homelessness and Poverty in Our Time, 19 Saint Louis U. Public L. Rev. 237 (2000); also in Representing The Poor and Homeless: Innovations In Advocacy 21 (Sidney D. Watson ed. 2001).
  • Long Overdue: Desegregation Litigation and Next Steps for HUD to End Discrimination and Segregation in the Public Housing and Section 8 Existing Housing Programs, 4 Cityscape 171 (1999).
  • Mandates Unsatisfied: The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and the Civil Rights Laws, 52 Miami L. Rev. 1011 (1998).
  • Sustainable Development in Suburbs and Their Cities: The Environmental and Financial Imperatives of Racial, Ethnic, and Economic Inclusion, 3 Widener L. Symp. J. 87 (1998).
  • The Role of the State, The Necessity of Race-Conscious Remedies, And Other Lessons from the Mount Laurel Study, 27 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1386 (1997).
  • Intentional Racial Discrimination and Segregation by the Federal Government as a Principal Cause of Concentrated Poverty: A Response to Schill and Wachter, 143 U.Pa. L. Rev. 1351 (1995).
  • The Lessons of American Apartheid: The Necessity and Means of Promoting Residential Racial Integration, 81 Iowa L. Rev. 479 (1995).
  • Improving Government-Assisted Housing Programs, 1 Georgetown J. on Fighting Poverty 49-51 (1993).
  • Housing Mobility and Life Opportunities, 27 Clearinghouse Rev. 335 (1993) (with Hilary Botein).
  • Improving and Expanding Housing Opportunities for Poor People of Color, 24 Clearinghouse Rev. 312 (1990) (with Philip Tegeler).
  • Preventing or Ameliorating Displacement in Connection with Section 8, 14 Clearinghouse Rev. 303 (1980).
  • The Right to Public Housing, 39 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 691 (1971).
  • Tenants and the Law: 1970, 20 Amer. U. L. Rev. 58 (1970).
  • The Lawyer as Abolitionist: Ending Homelessness and Poverty in Our Times, 19 U. Public L. Rev. 237 (2000)

Essays and Reports

  • A Challenge to Bank of America, Speech presented at the National Low Income Housing Policy Conference during acceptance of the Cushing Niles Dolbeare Award, March 29, 2011
  • Fighting Back: Disadvantaged Women in the Courts, 12 Women's Rights L. Rptr. 223 (1991).
  • Establishing a Right to Housing: An Advocate's Guide, (Low Income Housing Information Service, 1991); also A General Guide, 25 Clearinghouse Rev. 203 (July 1991) and a summary in 13 Cornerstone 5 (NLADA 1991).
  • Combating 'Private' Displacement, 13 Housing Law Bulletin 1 (1982).
  • Public Housing Location and the Law, Housing Assistance Council Information, April 19, 1974.


  • Representing the Vulnerable and Remembering Ralph Abascal: Lessons from the 1970s, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA, panelist, March 16 2012
  • Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, 25th Anniversary Reception, remarks, March 14, 2012
  • Housing Justice Network, Washington, D.C., presentation of the David B. Bryson Award to George Gould, October 16, 2011
  • Presentation of the David B. Bryson Award to George Gould, Housing Justice Network, Oct. 16, 2011
  • The Property Course: A Manifestation of Systems of Domination, "ClassCrit IV," American Univ., Washingtion, DC, Sept. 24, 2011
  • The Use of Fair Housing and Other Human Rights Law in Legal Services Practice and A Call to Advocacy, Committee on Regal Training (CORT), Jun. 15, 2011
  • Using Enforceable Human Rights to Represent Poor People, Panelist, Univ. of Maryand and Univ. of Baltimore Schools of Law, Apr. 28, 2011
  • Leadership Speaker, 10th Annual Norman Amaker Public Interest Law Retreat, Loyola Univ. Chicago School of Law/Society of American Law Teachers Resurrection Retreat Center, Woodstock, IL, Feb. 19, 2011
  • AALS Mid-Year Meeting Workshop on Post Racial Civil Rights, New York City, Panelist, Opening Plenary, “The Legal (Re)production of Inequality,” June 9, 2010.
  • AALS Mid-Year Meeting Workshop on Property Law, New York City, “Tenants and the Foreclosure Crisis,” Works in Progress Breakout Session, June 12, 2010.
  • Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and Golden Gate University School of Law, Vulnerable Populations and Economic Realities Poverty Law Teaching Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 19-20, 2010.
  • Participant, Roundtable Discussion, “If Not Now, When? Prioritizing Civil Rights in Federal Housing Policy,” co-sponsored by the Urban Institute and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Washington, DC, June 9-10, 2009
  • Panelist, Human Rights and State Law: New Strategies for Economic Justice Advocacy, Columbia Law School, April 17, 2009.
  • Equal Justice Works First Annual Public Interest Recognition Dinner,speaker introducing one of three honorees, Emily Benfer, class of 2005 (March 7, 2009)
  • Speaker, honoring Gideon Anders, National Housing Law Project Housing Justice Network Reception, Washington, D.C., December 7, 2008.
  • Conference on New Strategies for Fair Housing, Speaker, Cleveland, OH, November 14, 2008.
  • Celebration of the Fortieth Anniversary of the National Housing Law Project, Speaker, Oakland, CA, October 3, 2008.
  • "The Constitutional and Statutory Mandates of Residential Racial Integration," Speaker, Conference on The Integration Debate: Competing Futures for American Cities, John Marshall Law School, September 5, 2008.
  • Invited Testimony before the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Chicago, IL, July 15, 2008.
  • Participant, Roundtable Meeting on the Future of Race Conscious Housing Programs and Other Policies to Promote Racial and Economic Integregation, Columbia Law School, May 5, 2008.
  • "Abolitionist Advocacy for the 21st Century," North Carolina Legal Services Statewide Conference, Duram, NC, April 1-2, 2008
  • "The Fair Housing Act After 40 Years: Continuing the Mission to Eliminate Housing Discrimination and Segregation," Speaker, Indiana Law Reveiw Symposium, April 4, 2008.
  • “Gandhi,” Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, Committee on Diversity Initiatives and International Law Students Association (on the 60th anniversary of the assassination of the Mahatma), January 30, 2008.
  • "One People, One Nation? Housing and Social Justice: The Intersection of Race, Place, and Opportunity,” University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC, October 12, 2007.
  • "Changing the World: Race, Housing, and Opportunity," Keynote Address Delivered at the Fair Housing Law & Practice Conference, Seattle, WA, March 15, 2007.
  • “Preventing Homelessness: Issues Surrounding Intervention and Prevention in Homeless and Near-Homeless Populations,” Panelist, 6th Annual Norman Amaker Public Interest Law Retreat, Bradford Woods, IN, sponsored by Indiana University School of Law, February 24, 2007.
  • “In Praise of Lawyer-Driven Advocacy,” First Annual Distinguished Lecture on Law and Service, Public Interest Resource Center, sponsored by Widener University School of Law, Wilmington,DE, October 23, 2006.
  • “Public Housing Desegregation Litigation,” Faculty Workshop presentation, sponsored by Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE, October 23, 2006.
  • “A New Initiative for Connecticut Legal Services,” Speaker, Connecticut Legal Services Annual Dinner, October 18, 2006.
  • “Highlights of Housing Discrimination Law,” sponsored by Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Continuing Legal Education program, July 21, 2006.
  • "Using International and Foreign Human Rights Law in Public Interest Advocacy," presented to the Opening Plenary Session of the 2006 National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Litigation & Advocacy Directors Conference, Snowbird, Utah, June 4, 2006.
  • “Celebration of Cushing,” Memorial Service Honoring Cushing Dolbeare, sponsored by National Low Income Housing Coalition, Washington, DC, May 2, 2005.
  • “Courtpacking,” Plenary Speaker, Fourth Annual Norman Amaker Mid-West Public Interest Law Retreat, Bradford Woods, Indiana, February 26, 2005.
  • “The Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Shaping an Agenda for the Next 40 Years,” Wiley A. Branton Memorial Symposium, sponsored by Howard University School of Law, November 12, 2004.
  • "The Judge-Making Power: The Struggle for Integrity and Moderation," Keynote Speech, Third Annual Norman Amaker Mid-West Public Interest Law Retreat, Bradford Woods, IN, sponsored by Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, March 26, 2004.
  • "Aggressive Advocacy," prepared for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Litigation and Advocacy Directors' Conference, and co-sponsored by AARP Litigation Foundation and Litigation Section of the ABA, Snowbird, UT, June 23, 2002.
  • "Housing: A National Disaster - How We Can and Must Improve Our Housing Programs," Seattle University Housing Conference, April 29, 2002.
  • "Poverty, Discrimination, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program," prepared for the meeting of "LALSHAC" (The Loose Association of Legal Services Housing Advocates and Clients), Washington, DC, November 19-20, 2000.
  • "What Are the Legal Needs of Poor People in Indiana and What Is Our Goal in Addressing Those Needs?," Pleanary Speaker, Indiana Access in Justice Conference, Indiana Justice Center, January 28, 2000.
  • "Poor People's Housing Problems and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program," prepared for the National Housing Law Project's Housing Law Sessions at the NLADA Substantive Law Conference, July, 1997.
  • Norman Amaker MidWest Public Interest Law Retreat, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, panelist, February, 2012

Other Activities

  • Servant of Justice Award, District of Columbia Legal Aid Society, (“for faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice” (April 27, 2010).