David B. Thronson

Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law

Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 422
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

David Thronson is the Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law at the Michigan State University College of Law. He previously served twice as MSU Law’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and twice as MSU Law’s Associate Dean for Experiential Education. His research focuses on the intersection of family law and immigration law, in particular on the impact of immigration law on children.

Thronson graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in mathematics and education, then taught mathematics and science in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. He completed a master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University and served as a teacher and administrator in three public high schools in New York City.

In 1994, Thronson earned a JD from Harvard Law School, where he was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. After clerking for the Hon. A. Wallace Tashima, then of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, he returned to New York City as a Skadden Fellow at The Door’s Legal Services Center where he provided direct legal services to at-risk young people primarily in the areas of immigration, housing, public benefits and family law. Thronson then worked as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law, litigating 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 children in urban school districts 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 as he also taught courses in immigration law, public international law, and international human rights at Seton Hall University School of Law and Hofstra University School of Law. He subsequently served as Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Studies at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Thronson has taught immigration law as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School since 2017, was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law in 2020, and at the University of Miami in 2023.

Thronson is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and currently serves as Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers. In 2021, the American Immigration Lawyers Association selected him to receive its Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award and the Michigan State University College of Law honored him with its Donald F. Campbell Outstanding Teaching Award.

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J.D. Harvard Law School
M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A. University of Kansas