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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 that 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 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...

"Random if Not "Rare"? the Eighth Amendment Weaknesses of Post-Miller Legislation." S. C. L. Rev. (2017).

co-author. "Child abuse Evidence: New Perspectives from Law, Medicine, Psychology & Statistices: Question and Answer Session." Maddox K. B. et al, co-authors. U. Mich. J. L. Reform 50, no. 3 (2017): 737-48
Full Text: MLaw Repository

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

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


Gave a talk that examines post-Miller juvenile sentencing statutes in light of the Eighth Amendment at the South Carolina Law Review's Sentencing Reform symposium, February 2017.

Co-presented "Deciding Whether and Why to Teach the New and Pressing Legal Issues of Our Times," Midwest Clinical Law Professor's Conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma, October 2016.

Presented "Legal and Practical Considerations Relating to MCL 769.25a," Michigan Judicial Institute (training for Michigan trial court judges on post-Miller legislation), Lansing, Michigan, September 2016.

Presented "Creative Motions in Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases," Darrow-Baldus Defense College, University of Iowa, June 2016.

Moderator, Rebellious Lawyering at 25: Clinical Law Review Symposium, Baltimore, May 2016.

Developed and taught a training program for Turkish lawyers who are providing legal information sessions to Syrians living in Turkey, ABA-Rule of Law Initiative, Istanbul, Turkey, December 2015.

Provided two-day training for faculty from Menoufia University Law School in development of their clinical program, ABA-Rule of Law Initiative, Cairo, Egypt, December 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.

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.​