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Thronson, David B., J.D.
Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law

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David Thronson is Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law at the Michigan State University College of Law, where he is co-founder of the Immigration Law Clinic and also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. His research and writing seeks to develop frameworks and critical perspectives for analyzing the intersection of family and immigration, with a particular focus on children.

Thronson graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in mathematics and education, then taught in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. He completed a masters degree at Teachers College, Columbia University and served several years as a teacher and assistant principal in the New York City Public Schools.

In 1994, Thronson earned his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School where he served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. After clerking for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima in California, Thronson returned to New York City as a Skadden Fellow at The Door’s Legal Services Center, providing direct legal services to at-risk young people primarily in the areas of immigration, housing, public benefits and family law. He then served as the Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the law firm of Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger and Vecchione where he litigated cases involving a wide range of issues including the scope of federal habeas jurisdiction to review immigration matters, the application of the Convention Against Torture, the constitutional adequacy of educational opportunities provided to urban children in New Jersey, and discrimination in New Jersey State Police hiring practices.

From 1999 to 2002, Thronson taught in the Lawyering Program of New York University School of Law and served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and Hofstra University School of Law where he taught immigration law, public international law and international human rights. Thronson subsequently served as Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He was named UNLV Professor of the Year in 2003.

Thronson has served on numerous boards of directors, including those of the National Youth Leadership Council and International Social Service – USA. He currently serves on the national Interagency Working Group on Unaccompanied Children and his past governmental appointments include service on the Nevada Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, the Nevada Law Foundation, and the Nevada’s Governor’s Commission for National and Community Service. In 2006, he received the Friend of Working Families Award from the Nevada State AFL-CIO and in 2011 the Education Law Center honored him, along with other past Gibbons Fellows, with the Moreheuser Humanitarian Award. In January 2014 he was elected to membership in the American Law Institute and selected as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Select Publications

  • David B. Thronson, Immigration Enforcement and Its Impact on Immigrant Children and Families, in Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families: Culturally Responsive Practice (Alan J. Dettlaff and Rowena Fong, eds., Columbia University Press) (forthcoming 2016).
  • David B. Thronson, Unhappy Families: The Failings of Immigration Law for Families That Are Not All Alike, in the New Deportations Delirium: Interdisciplinary Responses (Daniel Kanstroom and M. Brinton Lykes, eds., NYU Press forthcoming 2015).
  • David B. Thronson, A Tale of Two Systems: Juvenile Justice Systems and their Impact on Immigrant Youth, in Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice (David Tanenhaus and Frank Zimring, eds., NYU Press 2014).
  • David B. Thronson, Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Problematically Peripheral Role of Immigration Law in the Globalization of Family Law, 22 Iowa J. Transnat’l L. and Contemporary Problems 655 (2013).
  • David B. Thronson & Veronica T. Thronson, Introduction: Global Families in Local Courts, 47 Fam. L.Q. 137 (2013) (as editors for Symposium on Global Families special issue).
  • David B. Thronson, Immigration Enforcement and Family Courts, in Children in Harm’s Way: Criminal Justice, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Welfare (Susan D. Phillips, Wendy Cervantes, Yali Lincroft, Alan J. Dettlaff & Lara Bruce, eds., 2013).

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