Lois A.

Professor of Law and Harry & Lillian Hastings Research Chair


Lois A. Weithorn is a Professor of Law and the Harry & Lillian Hastings Research Chair. She joined the full-time UC Hastings faculty in 2001. She received the UC Hastings Foundation Faculty Scholarship Award in 2002, and the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007. Professor Weithorn received her J.D. from Stanford Law School where she served as President of the Stanford Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After graduating, she clerked for the Honorable Joseph T. Sneed III of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Weithorn also has a Ph.D. in Psychology (University of Pittsburgh). Her work integrates perspectives in law and the behavioral and health sciences, with special emphasis on legal policies affecting family relationships or vulnerable or underserved groups such as children and persons with mental disorders. Professor Weithorn’s scholarship includes topics such as informed consent, health care decisionmaking capacity, and children’s participation in treatment decisions; legal responses to parental vaccine refusal; policies affecting youth crossing child welfare, juvenile justice and/or mental health system boundaries; developmental neuroscience and child protection policy reform; legal responses to children’s exposure to domestic violence; and intellectual disability and the death penalty. She also has served as a consultant to the Ethics and Policy Core at the Center for AIDS Prevention, UCSF Medical Center.

Prior to joining the faculty at UC Hastings, Professor Weithorn held positions at the University of Virginia (Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy and Department of Psychology). She served as a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, worked on federal mental health policy at the National Mental Health Association in Washington, D.C., and consulted with the Judicial Council of California and other agencies on child and family policy issues. Professor Weithorn also served on the Ethics Committee of the American Psychological Association and chaired several APA divisional committees relating to children and the law.



  1. Stanford Law School 1989

    J.D., Law

  2. University of Pittsburgh 1980

    Ph.D., Psychology

  3. Hamilton (Kirkland) College 1974

    B.A., Psychology


  1. President (Editor-in-Chief) 1989

    Served as President of the Stanford Law Review

  2. Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence 2007

    Awarded by University of California - Hastings College of the Law.

  3. Faculty Scholarship Award 2002

    Awarded by UC Hastings Foundation.

Selected Scholarship

  1. Legal Approaches to Promoting Parental Compliance with Childhood Immunization Recommendations 2018

    Human Vaccines & Immunotherapies

  2. A Constitutional Jurisprudence of Children’s Vulnerability 2017

    Hastings Law Journal

  3. Responding to the Childhood Vaccination Crisis: Legal Frameworks and Tools in the Context of Parental Vaccine Refusal 2015

    Buffalo Law Review

  4. Developmental Neuroscience, Children's Relationships with Primary Caregivers, and Child Protection Policy Reform 2012

    Children's Relationships with Primary Caregivers, and Child Protection Policy Reform

  5. Conceptual Hurdles to the Application of Atkins v. Virgina 2008

    Hastings Law Journal

  6. Envisioning second-order change in America's responses to troubled and troublesome youth 2005

    Hofstra Law Review

  7. Protecting children from exposure to domestic violence: The use and abuse of child maltreatment statutes 2001

    Hastings Law Journal


  1. Children and the Law
  2. Bioethics, Law, and Health Care Decisionmaking Seminar
  3. Criminal Law
  4. Family Law
  5. Mental Health Law and Policy