Ms Molly Townes O'Brien

AB Brown University; JD Northeastern University School of Law; LLM Temple University
Honorary Associate Professor of Law
ANU College of Law
T: 6166-1338

Areas of expertise

  • Access To Justice 180102
  • Human Rights And Justice Issues 220104
  • Criminal Law And Procedure 180110
  • Education Assessment And Evaluation 130303
  • Civil Law And Procedure 180104
  • Litigation, Adjudication And Dispute Resolution 180123
  • Law 1801
  • Other Law And Legal Studies 1899


Molly has served on the law faculties of Emory University, University of Akron and University of Wollongong.  Prior to entering the academy, she worked as a judicial clerk in the United States District Court and the Georgia Supreme Court before practicing law in Pennsylvania as a civil litigator and then as an Assistant Public Defender.  She had a TBI in 2012 and wrote a book, Nobody Home – My Brain Injury and Recovery about her experience.  Visit to order a copy.

Songwriter and humorist, Molly was born in Nashville, Tennessee and learned to play guitar at her daddy’s knee. She plays original songs and covers roots-country, folk, and blues.  She also performs old songs from Tennessee and songs by some of her favorite performers, including John Prine.  She has performed in various coffeehouses, clubs, restaurants and radio shows in the United States where she is appreciated as much for her humor as she is for her rhythm guitar.  She moved to Canberra in 2008 and now is a host of World Vibe on ArtSound fm.


Researcher's projects


 Nobody Home — My Brain Injury and Recovery from Pavement to Podium, (2021) Stringybark Publishing, Australia.


Trial Advocacy Basics (3rd edition) co-authored with Gary Gilden, (2021) National            Institute for Trial Advocacy Press, USA.


Civil Procedure, (2nd edition), co-authored with Stephen Colbran, Sheryl Jackson, Peta Spender, and Tania Penovic, (2019) LexisNexis.


 New Directions for Law in Australia: Essays in Contemporary Law Reform, co-edited with Ron Levy, Simon Rice, Pauline Ridge and Margaret Thornton, (2017) ANU Press.


Trial Advocacy Basics (2nd edition) co-authored with Gary Gilden, (2016) National           Institute for Trial Advocacy Press.


Civil Procedure, co-authored with Stephen Colbran, Roger Douglas and Sheryl Jackson (2016) LexisNexis Butterworths.

Book Chapters

‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ in Stephen Colbran, et al., Civil Procedure: Commentary and Materials (7th edition, 2019) Lexis Nexis.


‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Promoting Cooperation and Sustainability,’ in (2018) Old Issues – New Perspectives, D. A. Frenkel (ed.) ATINER Institute for Education and Research. Athens: Greece. ISBN 978-960-598-174-7, co-authored with Charles Lineweaver. 


‘Connecting Law Students to Health and Wellbeing’ in (2016) Promoting Law Student and Lawyer Well-Being in Australia and Beyond, Rachel Field, James Duffy and Colin James, editors, Routledge.

‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ in Stephen Colbran, et al., Civil Procedure: Commentary and Materials (6th edition, 2015) Lexis Nexis.


 ‘The Cosmic Context of the Millennium Development Goals: Maximum Entropy

and Sustainability’ in (2015) Nanotechnology for a Secure and Sustainable Future, Tom Faunce, editor, Pan Stanford Publishing, co-authored with Charles Lineweaver.


‘The Challenge of the How: Developing a Process for Legal Educational Program Renewal,’ in (2014) The First-Year Experience in Law School: A New Beginning, Leon Wolff and Maria Nicolae, editors, co-authored with Anthony Connolly.


‘Mother Tongue Education as a Legal Right’ in (2014) Intersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place, Elke Stracke, editor, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, co-authored with Peter Bailey.

Articles, Essays & Refereed Conference Proceedings

“Brain Injury and Prison: Over-Representation, Prevention and Reform” presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Neurology and Brain Disorders on 20 November 2023 (virtually) in London, UK.

Prisoners with brain injuries: What do we know and what should we do?’ presentation at 8th National Brain Injury Conference, University of Sydney, June 2022.

‘Brain injury and prison: over-representation, prevention and reform,’ 28 Australian Journal of Human Rights 1, 1-20 (2022), DOI: 10.1080/1323238X.2022.2093462

‘Teaching Human Rights in Australia’ presentation to 19th Annual International Conference on Law, 11-14 July 2022, Athens, Greece.

“Nurses Can Train Families, Police and Lawyers” talk to Nurses Conference, 2nd Edition Of Virtual Conference On Nursing Education & Practice (Virtual Nursing 2022) 12 December 2022.

 ‘Representing the Brain Injured Accused,’ presentation at 7th National Brain Injury Conference, University of Melbourne, 29 October 2019.

‘A Hidden Hierarchy: Helping and Hindering a New Online JD Program,’ presentation at Hierarchies in Legal Education Symposium, Temple University, Philadelphia, October (2019)

‘Awakening from a Coma’ presentation in Frankenstein 2018: 200 Years of Monsters, Australian National University, Canberra, September (2018).

‘Becoming a Law Teacher Again,’ ALTA Conference 2018, Perth Australia (2018).






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Updated:  16 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers