Professor Michael J. Steinberg is a professor from practice. His interest lies primarily in civil rights and civil liberties law and mentoring the next generation of public interest lawyers. Before joining the Michigan Law faculty, Steinberg served for 22 years as the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, where he oversaw all ACLU litigation in the state.
Steinberg has litigated dozens of high-impact, high-profile cases on a wide range of civil rights issues including: racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, police misconduct, freedom of speech and expression, immigrant rights, voting rights, women's rights, post 9/11 issues, reproductive freedom, criminal justice reform, religious freedom, right to counsel, environmental justice, prisoner rights, economic justice, and disability rights. Six cases on which he worked were decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Steinberg is the founding director of the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative at Michigan Law, which provides students with the opportunity to litigate important civil rights cases under his supervision. He also was the founding director of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Clinic at Wayne State University Law School.
Steinberg often speaks about civil rights and civil liberties at universities and conferences across the country and is interviewed frequently by local and national media. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Harvard Law School's Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship, Wayne State University Law School's Treasure of Detroit Award, and the Detroit National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Arab Civil Rights League’s Justice Award.
Following law school, Steinberg worked in private practice for seven years, specializing in civil rights litigation and civil and criminal appeals. He is a former high school teacher and coach, community organizer, president of the Ann Arbor Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and board member of the Michigan Coalition on Human Rights, Michigan Peace Action, and the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan. He often is asked to tell stories about his cases at Moth Mainstage performances across the country.