Michael Wishnie

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education; William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law; and Director, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization

(on leave, spring 2016)


Michael J. Wishnie is the Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Professor Wishnie’s teaching, scholarship, and law practice have focused on immigration, labor and employment, habeas corpus, civil rights, government transparency, and veterans law.

FULL BIOGRAPHY

Contact Information


Yale Law School

P.O. Box 208215

New Haven, CT 06520

Education & Curriculum Vitae


J.D., Yale, 1993

B.A., Yale, 1987

Courses Taught


  • Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic
  • Veterans Legal Services Clinic
  • Advanced 9-11 Clinic
  • Federal Courts: Selected Topics

Michael J. Wishnie is the Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Professor Wishnie’s teaching, scholarship, and law practice have focused on immigration, labor and employment, habeas corpus, civil rights, government transparency, and veterans law. For years, Professor Wishnie and his students have represented low-wage workers, immigrants, and veterans in federal, state, and administrative litigation. He and his students have also represented unions, churches, veterans’ groups, and grassroots organizations in a range of legislative, media, and community education matters.

Professor Wishnie's recent publications include Asking for Directions: The Case for Federal Courts To Use Certification Across Borders, 125 Yale L.J. F. 156 (2015) (with Oona A. Hathaway); Forty Years of First-Year Students Representing Clients at Yale, in E. Capulong, M. Millemann, S. Rankin & N. Ruan, eds., THE NEW 1L: FIRST-YEAR LAWYERING WITH CLIENTS (Carolina Press: 2015); Immigration Law and the Proportionality Requirement, 2 U.C. IRV. L. REV. 415 (2012); and Proportionality: The Struggle for Balance in U.S. Immigration Policy, 72 U.PITT. L. REV. 431 (2011). 

From 1998-2006, Professor Wishnie taught at New York University School of Law. Previously, he worked at the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project as a Skadden Fellow; in the Brooklyn Neighborhood Office of The Legal Aid Society; as a law clerk to Judge H. Lee Sarokin of the District Court of New Jersey and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; and as a clerk for Justice Harry A. Blackmun, retired, working in the chambers of Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before earning his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1993, Professor Wishnie spent two years teaching in the People’s Republic of China

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Defense Dept. Agrees to Disclosure of PTSD Records for Vets Clinic Clients

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School received a settlement in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut in Vietnam Veterans of America et al v. Dept. of Defense et al.

Monday, November 2, 2015


New Data Shows Jump in Relief to Veterans with PTSD

The Vets Clinic held a press conference about a report based on newly disclosed records revealing an increase in the approvals of discharge upgrade applications from veterans with PTSD.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Delaware Senator Chris Coons ’92 to Deliver Dean’s Lecture October 15

Chris Coons ’92 JD/DIV, United States Senator from Delaware, will be in conversation with Professor Michael Wishnie ’93 on October 15, 2015, at 4:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge. The topic of this dean’s lecture will be “The United States Senate: A Frank Conversation.”

Monday, June 22, 2015


Vets Clinic Wins Case over Bad Discharges for Vietnam Veterans with PTSD

Vietnam combat veterans who brought a class action lawsuit in federal court have won: the Pentagon has agreed to upgrade each man’s “other-than-honorable” discharge status. 

Monday, May 4, 2015


Clinic Files Lawsuit for Records About Discharge of Veterans with PTSD

Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress filed suit against the Department of Defense and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to compel the release of records regarding their discharge of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Friday, May 1, 2015


WIRAC Clinic Files Lawsuit Against Goodfellas Restaurant in New Haven

Former workers from Goodfellas Restaurant in New Haven filed a federal lawsuit against the restaurant alleging, wage theft, harassment, and racketeering offenses. The lawsuit was filed by the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Veterans Clinic Files Nation-Wide Class Action, Challenging Delays in VA Benefits Processing

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of a Marine Corps veteran and thousands of other veterans seeking to compel the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to decide initial disability compensation appeals that have been pending more than one year. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Judge Expands Immigration Bond Hearing Ruling in WIRAC Lawsuit

The Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School recently secured another victory when Judge Michael A. Ponsor ‘74 ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must provide bond hearings to detained immigrants while their deportation hearings are being appealed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic Receives Award from South Asian Bar Association

The South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut presented its 2014 Community Service Award to the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic on October 28 in Hartford.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Civil Rights Plaintiffs Settle With East Haven, Secure Groundbreaking Immigration Policy

Civil rights plaintiffs in Chacón v. East Haven Police Department today announced a groundbreaking settlement with the Town of East Haven. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Veterans Clinic Client to Sue Army Over False "Adjustment Disorder" Diagnosis, Denial of Retirement Benefits

In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, U.S. Army National Guard veteran William Cowles is challenging the illegal denial of his application for medical retirement and asserts that the Army hastily discharged him based on an erroneous diagnosis of adjustment disorder when he should have been medically retired for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Michael J. Wishnie ’93 to Discuss Resistance and Regeneration in William O. Douglas Inaugural Lecture

Michael J. Wishnie's ’93, will present his inaugural lecture as the William O. Douglas Clinicial Professor of Law Monday, April 8, 2013.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Michael Wishnie ’93 Named William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law

Michael Wishnie ’93, a clinical professor of law at Yale Law School and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, has been named the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Students Hear Arizona Immigration Case Argued Live, Thanks to Ninth Circuit Video Initiative

Yale Law School is taking part in an educational initiative that enables students to watch live streaming video of oral arguments heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Monday, October 4, 2010


New YLS Clinic Offers Legal Assistance to Connecticut Veterans

Yale Law School has launched a new clinic to train students to address the needs of Connecticut’s military veterans.

Monday, December 3, 2007


National Immigration Policy Reform

National Security, Business and Immigrants' Rights Perspectives on Immigration Reform

Forty Years of First-Year Students Representing Clients at Yale, in E.Capulong, M. Millemann, S. Rankin & N. Ruan, eds., THE NEW 1L: FIRST-YEAR LAWYERING WITH CLIENTS (Carolina Press: 2015)

Yale Law School Veterans Clinic Advocates for Marginalized Veteran Populations, Access to Justice, Vol 2., No. 1 (ABA Section of Litigation: Winter 2015)

Imagining Immigration Reform, THE VOLUNTEER (Sept. 2013)

Immigration Law and the Proportionality Requirement, 2 U.C. IRV. L. REV. 415 (2012)

Proportionality in Immigration Law: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime in Immigration Court? (Immigration Policy Center: 2012)

Proportionality: The Struggle for Balance in U.S. Immigration Policy, 72 U.PITT. L. REV. 431 (2011)

The Summer of '10: Federal Power, Local Autonomy, and the Struggle over Immigration Policy, 4 ORIGINS 2 (Nov. 2010)

Welfare Reform at Ten: Integration, Exclusion, and Immigration Federalism, in Michael Fix, ed., IMMIGRANT FAMILIES AND CHILDREN ON THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF WELFARE REFORM (Migration Policy Institute: 2009)

The Constitutional Law of Immigration Enforcement,” in Raids on Workers: Destroying Our Rights (UFCW: 2009) (with Justin Cox)

Collateral Damage: An Examination of ICE’s Fugitive Operations Program, (Migration Policy Institute: 2009) (with Margot Mendelson & Shayna Strom)

Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, Inc.: Guantanamo and Refoulment, (with Harold H. Koh), in Deena Hurwitz and Meg Satterthwaite, eds. HUMAN RIGHTS STORIES (Foundation Press: 2009)

Labor Law After Legalization, 92 MINN. L. REV. 1446 (2008)

Prohibiting the Employment of Unauthorized Immigrants: The Experiment Fails, 2007 U.CHIC. LEG. FOR. 193 (2007)

The Story of Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB: Labor Rights Without Remedies for Undocumented Immigrants (with Catherine Fisk), in Laura Cooper & Catherine Fisk, eds., LABOR LAW STORIES (Foundation Press: 2005). 

Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB: The Rules of the Workplace for Undocumented Immigrants (with Catherine Fisk), in Peter Schuck & David Martin, eds., IMMIGRATION STORIES (Foundation Press: 2005)

Blurring the Lines: A Profile of State and Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Law Using the National Crime Information Center Database, 2002–2004 (Migration Policy Institute: 2005) (with others)

Emerging Issues for Undocumented Workers, 6 U. PA. J. LABOR & EMP. L. 497 (2004). Reprinted in Samuel Estreicher, ed., CROSS-BORDER HUMAN RESOURCES – LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, Proceedings of New York University 54th Annual Conference on Labor (2005); 9 BENDER’S IMMIGR. BULL. (2004); BENDER’S LAB. & EMP. BULL. (2005)

Introduction — The Border Crossed Us: Current Issues in Immigrant Labor, 28 REV. L. & SOC. CHG. 389 (2004)

State and Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Laws, 4 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 1084 (2004). Reprinted in 25 IMM. & NAT. L. REV. (2005)

Immigrants and the Right to Petition, 78 N.Y.U. L. REV. 667 (2003). Reprinted in 24 IMM. & NAT. L. REV. (2004)

America's Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties, And National Unity After September 11 (Migration Policy Institute: 2003) (with others)

Immigrant Workers and the Domestic Enforcement of International Labor Rights, 4 U. PA. J. LABOR & EMP. L. 529 (2002)

The Historical Scope of Habeas Corpus and INS v. St. Cyr, 16 GEO. IMMIGR. L. J. 485 (2002) (with James Oldham)

Brief Amici Curiae of Legal Historians in INS v. St. Cyr, 16 GEO. IMMIGR. L. J. 465 (2002) (with others)

Introduction: Immigration and Federalism, 58 ANN. SURV. AM. L. 283 (2002)

Authority of State and Local Officers to Arrest Aliens Suspected of Civil Infractions of Federal Immigration Law, 7 BENDER’S IMMIGR. BULL. 944 (2003) (with others)

Laboratories of Bigotry? Devolution of the Immigration Power, Equal Protection, and Federalism, 76 N.Y.U. L. REV. 493 (2001). Reprinted in 22 IMM. & NAT. L. REV. 51 (2002).

Aliens and the Duty of Nonrefoulement: Haitian Centers Council v. McNary, 6 HARV. HUM. RGTS. L. J. 1 (1993) (with others).