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About Debra Pogrund Stark

Professor Stark proudly joined the faculty of The John Marshall Law School in 1994 after eight years in private practice with Katten Muchin. She currently focuses her activities as a law professor on: (i) engaging in empirical research, scholarship, and advocacy on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and victims of predatory lending and (ii) training students to provide compassionate and superior legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence.
In pursuit of these goals, Professor Stark created the law school's Domestic Violence Clinical Advocacy Program ("DVCAP") and serves as its Director. A key initiative of DVCAP that Stark developed is its "Safety Through Knowledge Legal Assistance Project" where specially trained students, working under the supervision of highly talented adjunct faculty and volunteer attorneys provide legal information, advice, and, representation, in eight different areas of law that can be useful to survivors of domestic violence to become safe and independent. The eight areas of law are: (i) orders of protection, (ii) divorce/parentage, (iii) crime victim compensation, (iv) housing protections, (v) employment protections, (vi) debt relief/credit repair, (vii) tax liability relief, and (viii) immigration relief. Family Rescue, a domestic violence service organization, is a partner with DVCAP on this project and refers clients they are helping to DVCAP for legal assistance. Between Friends, another domestic violence service organization is another partner of DVCAP and has referred divorce/parentage cases that our students have worked on with Adjunct Prof. Bryan Wilson of Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove.
As director of DVCAP, Professor Stark organizes an annual educational/training conference on different aspects of domestic violence and the materials developed for these conferences are then posted on the DVCAP webpage for future reference to the general public and the attorneys and other professional who work with survivors of domestic violence. The first conference in 2013 provided a general overview of the barriers to safely leaving and resources available to survivors of domestic violence in Illinois. Over 138 individuals registered to attend or view as a webinar the second conference that focused on best practices to obtain certain order of protection remedies. In 2015, the conference is focused on finding better ways to protect children through requiring partner abuse intervention programs in custody/visitation cases where children have been exposed to domestic violence.
Professor Stark is a Co-Chairperson of the Domestic Violence Task Force Committee of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women and was a member of two work groups created by the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Division of Domestic Violence that focused on improving the operations of the domestic violence court in Cook County. She is also a member of the Metropolitan Battered Women's Network.
Professor Stark also engages in empirical studies that analyze how well the legal system is responding to the problem of domestic violence. Her article, “What’s Law Got To With It? Confronting Judicial Nullification of Domestic Violence Remedies” was based on an empirical study she conducted and was published in the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy.
In pursuit of her goal to address the problem of predatory lending, Professor Stark has engaged in interdisciplinary and empirical research exploring why so many consumers entered into overpriced and unaffordable home loans and has developed strategies to improve home loan decision-making. She is the author of numerous articles (published in law reviews, including the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal and the Yale Law Journal Online, and peer edited psychology journals) and a book chapter on this topic and was awarded (with colleague Dr. Jessica Choplin) a grant from the National Science Foundation's Law and Social Sciences Division relating to this work. She was appointed in 2010 to the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's Residential Mortgage Board, a group tasked with making recommendations to address the home loan crisis here in Illinois, and served as Chair of the Residential Mortgage from 2012-2013.
Professor Stark has been appointed to various national leadership positions in the field of real estate law. She served as Chair of the Real Estate Transactions Section of the Association of American Law Schools in 2012, after serving on its Executive Committee (2008), as Treasurer (2009), as Secretary (2010), and as Vice-Chair (2011). She also served as the Chair of the American Bar Association, Real Property Section's Foreclosure and Related Remedies Committee between 1994-1997 and Vice-Chair of the Real Property Section's Pro Bono Committee between 2003-2005. Professor Stark is also the author of two innovative, project and skills based, textbooks on real estate law, one of which has been adopted by over 30 law schools in the U.S.


Present Director, Domestic Violence Clinical Advocacy Program, John Marshall Law School
Present Professor, John Marshall Law School

Curriculum Vitae



Honors and Awards

  • 2016 ISBA Excellence in Legal Education Award

Contact Information

The John Marshall Law School
315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Phone: 312.360.2650
Office: Room 929
Office Hours: Mon. & Weds. 4-5:45 p.m. or by appointment

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