AB, Barnard College, Columbia U. (Political Science)
JD, Harvard University Law School
A native New Yorker, Professor Tonya Brito received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College, Columbia University in 1986. Thinking that it would be a good idea to live elsewhere for a few years, she left NYC temporarily to attend law school out of state. Eleven years and five states later, she joined the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1997. Because she cannot imagine finding a better place to teach law, she has resigned herself to returning to New York for retirement.
Professor Brito's scholarly interests are in the areas of family law, children's issues and poverty law. She has written on the relationship between family law and welfare law, child support, and the image of mothers in poverty discourse. She is currently working on a number of projects, including a qualitative study of open adoption and the government's promotion of marriage as anti-poverty policy. At UW, she teaches courses in Civil Procedure, Family Law and seminars she developed entitled Children, Law & Society and Adoption Law & Policy. Professor Brito serves as a board member of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and is an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty. Prior to joining UW, Professor Brito clerked for Judge John Garrett Penn of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, practiced civil litigation for four years with the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C., and served on the law faculty at Arizona State University College of Law. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude, served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and was a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.