Michael J. Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, to join Michigan Law to direct new Civil Rights Litigation Initiative

U-M Law

Michael J. Steinberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, will join the Michigan Law faculty this fall as a professor from practice.

Steinberg will start the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative, which will provide students with the opportunity to advance social justice by litigating civil rights cases. He also will teach courses in civil rights and civil liberties law.

Steinberg has served as the legal director of the ACLU of Michigan since 1997, where he is responsible for overseeing all litigation taken on by the ACLU throughout the state.

He has worked on numerous high-impact, cutting-edge cases on a wide range of civil liberties issues including: racial justice, freedom of speech and expression, post 9-11 issues, police misconduct, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, reproductive freedom, voting rights, religious freedom, right to counsel, and prisoner rights. Seven cases on which he worked reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to his ACLU work, Steinberg has been an adjunct member of the Michigan Law faculty since 2013.

“Mike brings decades of unique insights and experience litigating high-profile civil rights and civil liberties cases, including, very recently, the Flint water crisis and the release of 1,400 wrongfully detained Iraqi immigrants. His experience is invaluable to our students who want to pursue careers in civil rights and civil liberties work, and I am very pleased to welcome Mike to the Michigan Law faculty full-time,” said Michigan Law Dean and Nippon Life Professor of Law Mark D. West.
“For the past 22 years, I have been privileged to work with the nation’s best advocates at the ACLU to address the most important civil rights issues of our time,” said Steinberg.

“I look forward to mentoring the next generation of students who will continue the fight for social justice and the rights of the most vulnerable in our society. I am absolutely thrilled to join the faculty at Michigan Law, which is deeply committed to its public mission and offers a uniquely collegial and supportive learning environment.”

Steinberg is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship and Wayne State University Law School’s Treasure of Detroit Award.

He holds a BA with honors from Wesleyan University and a JD, cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School. Following law school, Steinberg clerked for The Hon. Marilyn Kelly on the Michigan Court of Appeals.