MSU College of Law

David B. Thronson

David B. Thronson
[Hi-Res Photo]
Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 230F
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

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.

J.D. 1994, cum laude, Harvard Law School; M.A. 1990, Columbia University, Teachers College; B.S. 1985, University of Kansas; B.G.S. 1985, University of Kansas

  • Civil Procedure
    (Formerly Civil Procedure I) A survey of civil procedure, primarily addressing jurisdiction, venue, the Erie doctrine, pleadings, simple joinder, discovery, sanctions, summary judgment, judgment as a matter of law, and former adjudication (claim preclusion and issue preclusion). Primary emphasis is placed on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with some potential discussion of state deviations from the federal model.
  • Constitutional Law I
    (Formerly DCL 171) An introduction to American constitutional law. This course surveys the distribution of national powers among the Congress, the president and the federal judiciary. After examining the fundamentals of judicial review and its limitations, the course considers the delegated powers of Congress and the tensions between Congress and the president in the exercise of national powers. The course concludes with an overview of governmental immunities. Some sections of Regulatory State and constitutional Law I are taught as a combined class.
  • Immigration Law Clinic I
    Students engage with immigrant communities through direct client representation and systemic advocacy. The Immigration Law Clinic provides opportunities for students to experience the practice of law in a well-supervised and academically rigorous program that both prepares them for the practice of law and enables them to critically assess social justice issues. In addition to client representation and advocacy, students participate in a clinic seminar. Students are required to work an average of 20 hours per week. Enrollment is by application only (please see student announcements for details of application process).
  • Immigration Law Clinic II
    A supplement to Immigration Law Clinic I, open to students who have successfully completed Immigration Law Clinic I, and who have been invited to participate for a second semester. Students work on a clinic-based project developed in consultation with the professor. Credits for this course will be accorded on a sliding scale of one to three credits. Prerequisite(s): Immigration Law Clinic I

Massachusetts; Michigan; New York; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, District of New Jersey; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Sixth Circuit and Ninth Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court