Michael J. Wishnie

William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (fall term)

J.D., Yale Law School, 1993

B.A., Yale University, 1987

Courses Taught
  • Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic
  • Veterans Legal Services Clinic
  • Rule of Law Clinic
Michael Wishnie

Michael J. Wishnie is William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Wishnie’s teaching, scholarship, and law practice have focused on immigration, labor and employment, habeas corpus, civil rights, government transparency, veterans law, and voting rights. For years, Wishnie and his students have represented low-wage workers, immigrants, veterans, and voters 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.

Wishnie's recent publications include “Call Air Traffic Control! Confronting Crisis as Lawyers and Teachers” (with Muneer Ahmad), in Ray Brescia & Eric K. Stern, eds., Crisis Lawyering: Effective Legal Advocacy in Emergency Situations (NYU Press: 2021) and “‘A Boy Gets Into Trouble’: Service Members, Civil Rights, and Veterans’ Law Exceptionalism”, 97 B.U. L. Rev. 1709 (2017). 

From 1998-2006, 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, Wishnie spent two years teaching in the People’s Republic of China.


“Call Air Traffic Control! Confronting Crisis as Lawyers and Teachers” (with Muneer Ahmad), in Ray Brescia & Eric K. Stern, eds., CRISIS LAWYERING: EFFECTIVE LEGAL ADVOCACY IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS (NYU Press: 2021)

A Boy Gets Into Trouble”: Service Members, Civil Rights, and Veterans’ Law Exceptionalism, 97 B.U. L. REV. 1709 (2017)

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)

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) Reprinted in __ IMM. & NAT. L. REV. (2013)

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)

"The Story of Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, Inc.: Guantanamo and Refoulment, (with Harold H. Koh), in Deena Hurwitz and Meg Satterthwaite, eds. HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY 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 NYU 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) and in part in Margaret M. Russell, ed., THE FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND PETITION: ITS CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY AND THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE (Prometheus: 2010)

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).