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Thomas, Kimberly

Clinical Professor of Law
Juvenile Justice Clinic
Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic
Michigan Innocence Clinic

3032 South Hall

Professor 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. Professor Thomas is the cofounder (with Professor Frank Vandervort) of the Juvenile Justice Clinic. In 2013, Professor Thomas was among several attorneys honored 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, Professor Thomas spent three months as a legal education expert for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI) 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, Professor 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, Professor Thomas clerked for the Hon. 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.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

"Substantive Habeas." Am. U. L. Rev. 63, no. 6 (2014): 1749-90.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | 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: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw


Facilitator, Clinical Law Review Writing Workshop, September 2015.​

Presented "Creative Motions and Issue Preservation in JLWOP Cases," Darrow-Baldus Defense College, University of Iowa, June 2015.​

Presented a talk on the constitutional sentencing of juveniles, Elderwise, Ann Arbor, June 2015.​

Presented "Representing Clients and Educating Students Amid Risk Management, Background Checks, and Compliance Regimes," AALS Clinical Conference, Rancho Mirage, California, May 2015.​

Presented "Miller, Apprendi, and Alleyne: Does the Sixth Amendment Require a Jury Determination and Finding Beyond a Reasonable Doubt at Miller Hearings?," Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth National Convening, Washington, D.C., November 2014.

Presented "Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Cases, Juvenile Records, and Expungement," Michigan Re-entry Workgroup, Lansing, June 2014.

Presented "Mandatory Sentencing for Juveniles—Life without Parole," Elderwise, Ann Arbor, May 2014.

Co-presented "More Than Mindful in the Face of Constitutional Crisis: The Case Study of Juvenile Life Without Parole and Post-Miller Implementation Work," AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Chicago, April 2014.

Presented "Clearing the Record: Navigating the Expungement and Sealing Terrain," National Juvenile Defender Center Leadership Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona, October 2013.

Serves on the board of editors of the AALS Clinical Law Review, 2013–present​.

Serves on the University of Michigan Sexual Misconduct Review Panel, September 2011–present.​

Serves on the Michigan State Planning Body for the Delivery of Legal Services, January 2011–present.​

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