Michael J. Wishnie

William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law and Counselor to the Dean


Michael J. Wishnie is William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law and Counselor to the Dean 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

Michael J. Wishnie is William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law and Counselor to the Dean 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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


As Nation Listens, Nury Embraces Role

William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in a story about a woman who has been given sanctuary in a New Haven church after being ordered to leave the country by ICE.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Study finds racial bias is endemic in military justice system

William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about a study showing racial bias in the military justice system.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Federal Court Cites Rule of Law Clinic Brief in Travel Ban Decision

Federal Court cites amicus brief from 42 National Security Officials written by Yale Law School’s Rule of Law Clinic in a ruling against the President’s revised executive order limiting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


A Travel Ban’s Foe: A Young Firebrand and Her Pro Bono Brigade

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in a profile of visiting clinical lecturer Rebecca Heller ’10. Ms. Heller’s husband, Dan Mullkoff ’10, is mentioned.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


As ICE Retaliates Against Austin, Learn How New Haven Fought Back Against a 2007 ICE Crackdown

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is interviewed about how New Haven responded to ICE raids in 2007.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Rule of Law Clinic Amicus Brief Asks Court to Strike Down Revised Travel Order

The Rule of Law Clinic at Yale Law School filed an amicus brief on behalf of 40 senior former national security officials on March 15, 2017 in support of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project’s lawsuit against the President of the United States.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


No time to lose

A feature article on the lawsuit filed by the YLS Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic filed in response to Donald Trump’s executive order regarding refugees. Numerous faculty, current students, and alumni are quoted.

Monday, March 6, 2017


For Yale Law Group Fighting Trump’s Travel Ban, Echoes of 1991

The work of WIRAC on the immigration Executive Order is discussed in an article and video. Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93, Sterling Professor of International Law Harold Hongju Koh, Lisa Daugaard ’92, and My Khanh Ngo ’17 are quoted.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Law Not Clear Cut On “Sanctuary” Edict

Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science Akhil Amar ’84 and Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie are quoted in an article about whether the federal government can withhold funds from sanctuary cities.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Forever Prison

Sterling Professor of International Law Harold Koh, Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93, Ray Brescia ’92, and Lisa Daugaard ’95 were interviewed for a feature on their efforts on behalf of Haitian refugees detained at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba after a 1991 coup in Haiti.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


History is Repeating Itself

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 and My Khanh Ngo ’17 and were interviewed as part of a short film about the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocay Clinic challenge to Trump’s travel ban.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Challenging the Refugee and Muslim Ban

A story about how Yale Law students, faculty, and alumni mobilized to fight the presidential executive order on immigration manning certain refugees and immigrants from the U.S.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Liberal Lawyers Plan Wave of Resistance to Trump Policies

A story on the WIRAC students’ efforts to stop deportations in the wake of President Trump’s executive order. Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 and Clinical Professor of Law Muneer Ahmad are also mentioned.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Yale law prof sees constitutional issues in Trump immigration orders; reform advocate lauds enforcement

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article on the legal challenge to the executive order.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Law Students Help Halt Deportations

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article on the legal challenge to the executive order.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Up To $56M At Risk In Trump Order

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted about whether Donald Trump’s executive order regarding federal immigration law can be enforced.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Pardons sought for veterans with PTSD

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about the difficulty faced by veterans seeking to upgrade their discharge status from less-than-honorable.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Harsh Memories of Raids, Grim Fears for the Future

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about potential deportation of undocumented immigrants under the incoming administration.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Brooklyn Lawsuit Could Affect the Fate of Millions of Immigrants Nationwide

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael J. Wishnie ’93 was quoted in an article about an immigration case filed by WIRAC, Make the Road New York, and the National Immigration Law Center against the federal government.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Justice Department Bringing New Information to Case at Supreme Court; Move follows government apologizes for erroneous information provided in this manner

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about concerns over the veracity of information introduced at Supreme Court cases involving immigration.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Law professors: Tax changes for Yale constitutional

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about Bill 414, now before the Connecticut state government, that seeks to clarify Yale’s tax-exempt status. 

Monday, April 25, 2016


The exceptions: Among Vietnam vets, a rare few score Agent Orange benefits for bladder cancer

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about the number of Vietnam veterans who have been able to receive disability benefits related to their exposure to Agent Orange.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Court Hearing Scheduled as Feds Block Subpoenaed Immigrants From Testifying Before Conn. Legislature

Andrea Levien ’17 and Avinash Samarth ’16 are quoted, and supervising attorneys Nicole Hallett ’08, Jason Parkin, and Michael Wishnie ’93 are mentioned in an article about developments in the case of two Connecticut residents deported to Italy by Immigration, Customs and Enforcement.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Connecticut legislative committee subpoenas seek testimony from deported former residents

Meghan Ram ’18 and Aaron Korthuis ’17 are quoted and Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is mentioned in an article about two Connecticut residents deported to Italy by Immigration, Customs and Enforcement. The two are represented by the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, the Veterans Legal Service Clinic and the Criminal Justice Clinic.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Veterans Want Past Discharges to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic is mentioned and YLS professor Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about veterans seeking to reevaluate less-than-honorable discharges due to PTSD.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Wishnie: We May Get A Justice In 2016

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 was interviewed about the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


New Haven Groups Rally Against Possible Immigration Raids

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about support for undocumented immigrants facing potential deportation. The Worker and Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic is mentioned.

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.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Yale Law Students Says Military Won't Release Records Linked to PTSD Lawsuit

Senator Richard Blumenthal ’73 and Elizabeth Dervan ’17 are quoted, and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization is mentioned, in an article on efforts to get data from the Department of Defense on the number of veterans who have requested discharge status upgrades.

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.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Lynch visits Connecticut in stop on community policing tour

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an Associated Press article about improved relations between East Haven’s Latino community and its police force.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


San Francisco slaying case likely would have played out differently in Connecticut

YLS clinical professor and Director, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about communities that have limited cooperation with Immigration and Custom Enforcement in reaction to the 2008 Secure Communities program. The Workers and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic is mentioned.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Law Clinics Answer the Call

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted, and the Veterans Legal Services Clinic mentioned, in an article about work being done by law school veterans clinics across the country.

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, June 22, 2015


Vietnam Veterans Declared Eligible To Receive Long-Denied Benefits

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization Michael Wishnie ’93 and Virginia McCalmont ’15 are quoted in an article about five Vietnam War veterans who were granted upgrades to their discharge status after filing suit against the Armed Forces. The Yale Law School Veterans Legal Clinic, who represented the veterans, is mentioned.

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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


East Haven offers a blueprint for Justice Department involvement in Ferguson

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in an article about improved relations between the East Haven police department and the town’s Hispanic community.

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. 

Monday, February 2, 2015


Group seeks data on gender targets of US service academies

Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization Michael Wishnie ’93 is quoted in a story on a lawsuit filed by the Veterans Legal Services Clinic, the ACLU, and the Service Women's Action Network. The complaint alleges that the U.S. Department of Defense did not respond to previous requests for data on recruitment tactics and gender targets.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Yale Law School Veterans Clinic Advocates for Marginalized Veteran Populations—A Commentary by Michael Wishnie ’93

Michael J. Wishnie ’93 is the Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.  

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).