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Faculty, Fellows, and Staff

Melissa Carter * Melinda BanksMichele Papotto * Stephen RebaRandee Waldman



Melissa Carter

Executive DirectorMelissa Carter, Director

Melissa Carter joined the Emory Law faculty in December 2010 as the executive director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center. She directs the instructional and policy activities of the Child Law and Policy Center and the Juvenile Defender Clinic; supervises Center faculty, staff and students; and teaches related courses.

Prior to joining the law faculty, Carter served as the appointed state Child Advocate, leading the staff of the Office of the Child Advocate in the fulfillment of the executive agency’s statutory mandates to provide independent oversight of the child welfare system and coordination of activities related to child injury and fatality review and prevention. She has extensive experience in public administration and policy, having also worked for the state’s Court Improvement Project, a federally-funded program focused on improving the processing of civil child abuse and neglect cases in juvenile courts. Carter formerly practiced with the law firm of Claiborne, Outman and Surmay, PC, representing clients in adoption, assisted reproductive technology, and juvenile court deprivation (abuse and neglect) cases and was previously affiliated with Emory Law as Barton’s 2002 postgraduate fellow (now the Robin Nash Fellow).

Carter has published several articles on child welfare topics including child representation and federal regulatory schemes, has been involved with the drafting and passage of multiple pieces of state legislation, and is a frequent presenter on juvenile law topics to child welfare and juvenile court professionals. She was selected as a 2009 Marshall Memorial Fellow. Carter received her undergraduate degree in psychology and her law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Melinda Banks

Program Administrative Assistant

Melinda Banks began working for Emory University School of Law in October 2011, as an administrative assistant to the faculty and staff of the Barton Center and the Turner Environmental Law Clinic.

Before coming to Emory, Melinda’s experience was in the legal field, with over fourteen years as a legal secretary and paralegal.  Prior to that, she worked for five years as an office assistant for the police academy which was held at Palm Beach State College (formerly known as Palm Beach Community College) located in Lake Worth, Florida.

Banks received her A.S. in Business Administration from Palm Beach Community College during her tenure at the police academy.


Michele Papotto

Program CoordinatorMichele Papotto, Program Coordinator

Michele Papotto came to Emory University in 1998, where she was an administrative assistant at Emory College. She began working at the Emory University School of Law in 1999, as the executive assistant to the dean before joining the Barton Child Law and Policy Center in May 2002. She has served as a member of the Staff Concerns Subcommittee for the President's Commission on the Status of Women. She also served as the Administrator for the Lamar Inn of Court, the Emory chapter of the American Inns of Court from 1999-2008. Papotto serves on the Citizen Review Panel of Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.

Papotto spent ten years as a public school music educator teaching kindergarten through sixth grade. She taught in New York for eight years before relocating to Georgia where she taught for two years in LaGrange, Georgia.

Papotto received her Bachelor of Music from Furman University and her Master of Arts in Music from Teachers College, Columbia University.


Stephen Reba

Director, Appeal for Youth Clinic Steve Reba, APPEAL for Youth

Steve Reba joined the Barton Center in 2009 as the Ford and Harrison LLP Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic. Reba directs the Appeal for Youth Clinic, which provides legal services to youth in foster care who are being tracked into the "school-to-prison pipeline."

Before coming to Emory, Reba served as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Justice for Children, a federally funded project aimed at improving the process for civil child abuse and neglect cases.  At Justice for Children, he managed the implementation of a juvenile court process system and was part of a case review effort to learn best practices for areas targeted in Georgia’s Child and Family Services Review.

Reba is a former Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program participant and was placed with the Barton Center in summer 2007. His interest in child welfare policy arose during an internship in 2006 with the Dekalb Child Advocacy Center. Prior to law school, Reba played professional baseball.

Reba received his B.A. in Communications from Clemson University and his J.D. from John Marshall Law School.



Randee Waldman

Director, Juvenile Defender ClinicRandee Waldman, Juvenile Defender Clinic

Randee J. Waldman serves as the Director of the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic at Emory University School of Law. In this role, she supervises law students in holistic representation of young people charged with delinquent and status offenses. In addition to representing these clients in their juvenile court cases, she and her students also represent them in special education proceedings, school suspension proceedings, and other forums according to the clients' needs. Professor Waldman engages in policy work related to juvenile justice issues and teaches courses in juvenile justice and education law.

Waldman began her legal career as a litigation associate at Debevoise and Plimpton in New York. She then spent over five years as a Senior Attorney at Advocates for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring quality and equal public education services for New York City's most vulnerable students. While at AFC, Waldman represented parents and students at all levels of administrative proceedings to obtain appropriate special education services for students with disabilities, represented students in student discipline cases, served as co-counsel in several impact litigation cases in federal court, and directed the pro bono and law student intern programs.

Professor Waldman is a widely respected trainer, speaker, and writer. She is a NITA certified trial skills trainer and a certified trainer for the National Juvenile Defender Center's Juvenile Training Immersion Program. She has presented at numerous regional and national conferences. Professor Waldman serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children, the Advisory Board for the Southern Juvenile Defender Center, and the Executive Committee of the newly created Child Protection and Advocacy Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is also an active member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the juvenile justice committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Clinical Legal Education Association.

Waldman received her BA from Haverford College and her JD from the University of Chicago Law School.