Marie A. Failinger earned her B.A. with honors in 1973 and her J.D. with honors in 1976 from Valparaiso University Law School, and her LL.M. from Yale Law School in 1983. After a year as a teaching associate in the Valparaiso University Law School clinical program, she represented low-income clients with Legal Services Organization of Indiana from 1977-1983, serving as managing attorney of the Evansville office and Director of Special Services. She has taught at Hamline University School of Law since 1983, where she has served two terms as associate dean for academic affairs; and was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1990.
Professor Failinger has been a co-founder and board member of Church Innovations Institute; Law Teachers for Legal Services; the National Equal Justice Library; the Infinity Project; the Midwest Center for Arts, Entertainment and the Law; the Children’s Law Center; the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Poverty Law; and the American Indian Policy Center. The editor-in-chief of the internationally recognized Journal of Law and Religion for 25 years, she has also served on boards or committees of Central Minnesota Legal Services; Minnesota Women Lawyers; the Council on American Islamic Relations-MN; the Guild of St. Thomas More (MN); the Minnesota Loan Repayment Assistance Project; AALS Sections on Professional Responsibility, Women in Legal Education and Law and Religion; Karamah; the Journal of Lutheran Ethics; and Crossroads Adoption Services, among others.
The co-editor of Feminism, Law and Religion (Ashgate Press 2013) and the forthcoming The Poverty Law Canon, Failinger has also published more than seventy journal articles and book chapters on poverty law, law and religion, mediation and restorative justice, constitutional law and civil rights, mental illness, legal history and philosophy, legal and judicial ethics, child labor, adoption law, and marriage law. She has taught twenty courses at Hamline, including courses in Norway and Israel. She is the recipient of the 2013 Journal of Law and Religion Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013 Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award, 2011 Minnesota Women Lawyers Myra Bradwell Award and two Service to MWL awards, and the 2006 Minnesota Justice Foundation Law School Professor Award.