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Dana Harrington Conner

Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law

B.A., University of South Carolina
J.D., Widener University School of Law

Professor Harrington Conner received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1989 and her Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 302.477.2161


Professor Dana Harrington Conner teaches in the areas of domestic violence, violence against women, and professional responsibility at Delaware Law School. She is the current director of the Delaware Civil Clinic (DCC), supervising law students admitted to the limited practice of law. The DCC is a live client clinic created in 1984, in an effort to provide practical experience to law students through civic engagement in the Delaware community. The primary focus of the DCC is the representation of survivors of domestic violence. Harrington Conner is also the Co-Director of the Family Health Law and Policy Institute (“FHLPI”). FHLPI is dedicated to education and law reform relating to the intersection of families and their health.

Harrington Conner’s scholarship focuses on intimate partner violence, violence against women, family health, and inequality. Her current research agenda relates to intimate partner violence as a significant family health policy issue. Her published work relates to women, money and domestic abuse; the intersection of child custody and intimate partner violence; as well as ethical issues, client protection, and domestic violence.

Early in her legal career, Professor Harrington Conner became one of the first attorneys in the State of Delaware to represent survivors of domestic violence seeking civil protection from abuse. During her term as the Domestic Violence Attorney for Delaware Volunteer Legal Service she assisted countless individuals obtain protecti on and successfully argued the Review of Commissioners' Decisions, helping to define the new l aw in Delaware. In 1996, she became the Managing Attorney of Delaware Volunteer Legal Services and the Supervising Attorney of the DCC, where she served until joining the full-time faculty of Widener School of Law in 2004.

In 2002, the American Inns of Court presented Professor Harrington Conner with the Sandra Day O'Connor Professional Service Award for her outstanding work in public interest, pro bono and community service. The award was presented during the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the United States Supreme Court. Professor Harrington Conner is also the recipient of the Delaware State Bar Association's 2002 New Lawyers Distinguished Service Award for leadership dedicated to humanitarian service.

As an advocate for the rights of battered individuals , Professor Harrington Conner serves as the Vice-Chair of the Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and Co-Chair the Fatal Incident Review Team (FIRT). FIRT is responsible for reviewing deaths that occur as a result of domestic violence in the State of Delaware in an effort to reduce the occurrence of intimate partner homicide. Professor Harrington Conner is a past member of the Delaware Family Law Commission by appointment of the Delaware General Assembly. She is a pro bono volunteer attorney, serves as a Superior Court Arbitrator, and is certified as a Superior Court Mediator. 

What inspires me to teach?

The dedication and enthusiasm of our students inspires me to teach.  Delaware Civil Clinic interns assist survivors of domestic violence obtain civil protection. Over the years our interns have helped countless survivors and children escape life-threatening violence. Their unyielding commitment to those in need inspire me to teach.  
What do you learn when you study in Delaware?

Delaware provides a unique opportunity for law students given the size and collegiality of the legal community.  Law students are afforded the opportunity to learn from and work with some of the finest lawyers and judges in the state; learning the “Delaware way” which fosters civility and excellence in the practice of law.       

Why do Lawyers Matter?

Lawyers matter because they serve as the protectors of justice, guiding the way through what litigants often view as a complex and intimidating legal system.  Without the support of a zealous advocate many individuals would struggle to obtain equal access to justice.



Publications on Selected Works

Publications on SSRN

Book Chapters

& Judge Jennifer Ranji and Thomas McDonough, Domestic Violence, in The Family Court of the State of Delaware Golden Anniversary 1971 - 2021 (2021).

Law Journal Articles

Polyvictimized Children & Intimate Partner Violence: Promoting Healthy Outcomes for Children, 22 Widener L. Rev. 215 (2016).

Civil Protection Order Duration: Proof, Procedural Issues & Policy Considerations, 24 Temp. Pol. & Civil Rts. L. Rev. 343 (2015).

Financial Freedom: Women, Money & Domestic Abuse, 20 W&M J. Women & L. 339 (2014) (reprinted in Women and the Law, 2015 Edition).

Back to the Drawing Board: Barriers to Joint Decision-Making in Custody Cases Involving Intimate Partner Violence, 18 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol’y 223 (2011).

Abuse and Discretion: Evaluating Judicial Discretion in Custody Cases Involving Violence Against Women, 17 Am. U. J. Gender, Soc. Pol'y & L. 163 (2009).

Do No Harm: An Analysis of the Legal and Social Consequences of Child Visitation Determinations for Incarcerated Perpetrators of Extreme Acts of Violence Against Women, Colum. 17 Colum. J. Gender & L. 163 (2008).

To Protect or to Serve: Confidentiality, Client Protection and Domestic Violence, 79 Temp. L. Rev. 877 (2006).

Other Written Work

Expanding the Definition of Intimate Partner Violence, Economic Abuse, & VAWA, DCADV blog Post (July 2022) available at

Reflections of 75 Years of Civil Legal Aid, 45 The Journal 3, Oct., at 25-26 (2021).

& John Culhane and Alicia Kelly, Delaware Family Court Protection from Abuse (PFA) Instruction Packet available at (2018).

& John Culhane and Alicia Kelly. Update, Delaware Family Court Child Custody Instruction Packet available at (2018).

& Nathaniel C. Nicholas and Thomas J. Reed, Service Learning and Legal Education: A Sense of Duty, 15 WIDENER SCH. OF L. MAG., at 4-5 (2008).

Societal Views and Survivors of Domestic Violence: Asking the Right Questions, 13 WIDENER SCH. OF L. MAG., at 10 (2006).

Mentoring Volunteers: Attorneys & Law Students, The Bencher, Jan./Feb., at 14 (2004).


Temple University Beasley School of Law, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 20th Anniversary: Fulfilling the Promise of Safety & Justice (November, 2014)
Presenter, Maximum Duration of Protection Orders: Proof & Policy Considerations

State of Delaware, Justice of the Peace Court Training (November 2014)
Presenter, Domestic Violence: Risk Assessment, No-Contact Provisions, & Conditions of Release   

Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy Symposium: The Changing Face of Families (February, 2011)
Presenter, Joint Decision-Making in Custody Cases Involving IPV

Delaware State Bar Association’s Family Law Update (December, 2008)
Presenter, Teen Dating Violence and Stalking

Update for Feminist Law Professors, Temple Law School (February, 2007)
Presenter, Visitation Determinations for Incarcerated Perpetrators of Violence Against Women  

Domestic Violence Symposium, Widener School of Law (Spring, 2005)
Presenter, Dynamics of Domestic Violence & Failure to Protect

Real Evidence for the Trial Practitioner in Delaware (Fall, 2005)
Presenter, Ethics and the Trial Lawyer

Will Drafting Continuing Legal Education Seminar (2002 & 2003)

Fundamentals of Family Law Seminar (1997 - 2002)
Presenter, Dynamics of Domestic Violence

DVLS, Domestic Violence CLE Seminars (1997 – 2004)
Instructor, How to Handle a Protection From Abuse Case