Skip Navigation LinksHome > Faculty Biographies > Faculty Bio

Thomas, Kimberly

Clinical Professor of Law
Juvenile Justice Clinic
Michigan Clinical Law Program

3032 South Hall

Kimberly Thomas's research, teaching, and practice concentrate on criminal law, especially on sentencing law and practice, juvenile justice, indigent persons accused of crimes, and prisoner re-entry into the community. Prof. Thomas is the cofounder (with Prof. Frank Vandervort) of the Juvenile Justice Clinic. In 2014, she was appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to serve a two-year term on the state's newly created Indigent Defense Commission, which seeks to improve legal representation for low-income criminal defendants in Michigan. Prof. Thomas was among several attorneys honored in 2013 with the Justice for All Award from the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. The group developed a pro bono program to represent juvenile defendants following the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court Miller v. Alabama decision holding that mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences were unconstitutional. They created a comprehensive civil rights strategy which involved the recruitment, training, and support of more than 100 attorneys who volunteered their pro bono time and resources. In 2011, Prof. Thomas spent three months as a legal education expert for the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in Amman, Jordan, working on law school curriculum development, especially in criminal law, as well as the creation and support of experiential education and the first clinics in the country. In addition, she spearheaded a weeklong series of trainings for Egyptian law professors through the ABA-ROLI office in Cairo, Egypt, on clinical legal education, curriculum innovation, and moot court. Prior to joining the Law School faculty in 2003, Prof. Thomas served as a major trials attorney with Defender Association of Philadelphia. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland and Harvard Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. After law school, Prof. Thomas clerked for Judge R. Guy Cole of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. During law school she worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and spent time with Legal Aid of Cambodia and the Justice Committee of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to practicing law, she has worked as a newspaper reporter and a high school math teacher, and taught an undergraduate seminar in the economics department while she was at Harvard.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

"Substantive Habeas." Am. U. L. Rev. 63, no. 6 (2014): 1749-90.
Full Text: SSRN

Co-author. "Learning From the Unique and Common Challenges: Clinical Legal Education in Jordan." N. Mahasneh, co-author. Berkeley J. Middle E. & Islamic L. 5 (2013): 1-38.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw

"Interpersonal Power in the Criminal System." Am. Crim. L. Rev. 50, no. 1 (2013): 247-76.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) |HEINWestlaw

"Juvenile Life Without Parole: Unconstitutional in Michigan?" Mich. B. J. 90, no. 2 (2011): 34-6.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw

"What Does Graham Mean in Michigan?" Mich. Child Welfare L. J. 13, no. 3 (2010): 2-9.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

"Defending Juveniles Facing Life Without Parole in Michigan." Crim. Def. Newsl. 33, no. 12 (2010): 1-5.


Appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to serve a two-year term on the state's newly created Indigent Defense Commission, 2014.

Selected to the board of editors of the AALS Clinical Law Review, 2013.

Legal education expert for ABA Rule of Law Initiative, Amman, Jordan, April 2011.

Presented interactive teaching workshop to law professors from Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon in Amman, Jordan, March 2011, and an interactive teaching mini-workshop to Mu'tah University law faculty, Mutah, Jordan, April 2011.

Gave a talk on how to present oral arguments to approximately 100 law students from around Jordan preparing for moot court competition, March 2011.

Gave a U.S. criminal sentencing lecture to Jordanian law students at Jordan University, Amman, Jordan; Al Al-Bayt University, Mafraq, Jordan; and Mu'tah University, Mu'tah, Jordan, February/March 2011.

Michigan Law Wordmark Print View