Nicole Godfrey

Associate Clinical Professor; Director of the Housing Justice Clinic

Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 216J
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

Professor Nicole B. Godfrey joined the faculty in June 2022 as an Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Housing Justice Clinic (HJC). As director of the HJC, Professor Godfrey is reimagining the housing clinic’s focus so that it will allow students to represent clients facing a myriad of housing issues. The HJC’s current focus is three-fold: (1) defense to eviction, (2) challenges to housing discrimination protected by federal and state civil rights laws, and (3) advocacy for formerly incarcerated individuals facing housing issues.

Prior to joining MSU Law, Professor Godfrey taught at the University of Denver (DU) Sturm College of Law for seven years, first as a Clinical Teaching Fellow and then as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Civil Rights Clinic (CRC). As a professor in the CRC, Professor Godfrey taught and supervised students litigating complex civil rights cases in federal court. The CRC’s docket focused primarily on cases brought by incarcerated people challenging their conditions of confinement, but Professor Godfrey also supervised post-conviction challenges, clemency petitions, police brutality matters, and informal advocacy efforts on behalf of incarcerated people. After completing her clinical teaching fellowship, she earned an LL.M. in Clinical Legal Education in 2018 from DU.

Prior to joining academia, Professor Godfrey worked at several small civil rights firms and non-profit organizations. She started her legal career as a staff attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Service of New York.

Professor Godfrey’s research focuses on the law of incarceration, with particular attention to the Eighth Amendment, First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and claims brought against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and its employees. Her work has been published in the Oregon Law Review, Nebraska Law Review, Seattle University Law Review, and Arkansas Law Review, among other publications. Professor Godfrey’s scholarship is informed by her teaching and practice experience, which lie at the intersection of the constitutional law of incarceration, civil rights litigation, and federal courts. She has extensive experience representing clients in civil rights actions and as amicus curiae in federal district courts and courts of appeal across the country, including in the United States Supreme Court. She has successfully litigated several cases to trial and on appeal.

She is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Section on Clinical Legal Education, the National Lawyers’ Guild, Detroit & Michigan Chapter, Federal Bar Association—Western District of Michigan Chapter, and the American Constitution Society’s Path to the Bench Working Group, among other professional organizations. She will also serve on the planning committee for the 2024 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education.

Professor Godfrey received a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University College of Arts & Sciences, an M.A. in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Law, and a J.D. for the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. In law school, she received the Clinical Practice Award for her work as a student attorney in the Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic. She is admitted to practice in Colorado and New York, numerous federal district courts and courts of appeal, and the United States Supreme Court.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

J.D. University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Master of Laws, Clinical Legal Education, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
M.A. University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies
B.A. Boston University College of Arts & Sciences