Rebecca Aviel

Professor of Law and Maxine Kurtz Faculty Research Scholar


Constitutional Law, Family and Domestic Relations, Legal Ethics and Legal Profession

Professional Biography

Rebecca Aviel is a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, she practiced in the litigation department of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco and clerked for Judge Barry Silverman of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She also spent two years as a staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Aviel’s research and teaching interests include legal ethics and professional responsibility, family law, and constitutional law, with a scholarly focus on the opportunities for insight where these fields intersect. Her current research examines the role of lawyers in a constitutional democracy, the constitutional implications of professional regulation, and innovation in the delivery of legal services to litigants in family court.  

Her recent work, The Weaponization of Attorney’s Fees in an Age of Constitutional Warfare, 132 Yale L.J. 2048 (2023), explains that states are using the threat of catastrophic, one-sided fee awards to evade judicial review in controversial areas like abortion and gun control. Litigants challenging such laws face liability for the opposing party’s legal fees, while the state and its ideological allies bear no such risk.  Not only do these provisions thus discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, they obstruct access to counsel by imposing joint and several liability on attorneys for the disfavored parties.  For the first time ever, attorneys face fee liability not for any misconduct but solely for representing a certain kind of litigant raising legitimate claims that the state doesn’t want subjected to judicial scrutiny.

View CV


  • JD, Law, Harvard Law School
  • BA, Anthropology, Yale University

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Licensed attorney

Featured Publications