William Ortman is a visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, teaching Criminal Law in the fall 2022 semester. He writes about the legal and institutional design of criminal justice. His current scholarship focuses on plea bargaining, the practice that accounts for the vast majority of criminal convictions in American courts.

Professor Ortman’s work has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Vanderbilt Law Review, among other journals, and has been featured or profiled in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic.  

Professor Ortman practiced as a criminal defense lawyer and commercial litigator in Des Moines, Iowa, before entering academia. He first taught legal research and writing as a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School. In 2016, he joined the faculty of Wayne State University Law School, where he is an associate professor and the Edward M. Wise Research Scholar. At Wayne Law, Professor Ortman has taught criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, administrative law, and a seminar on plea bargaining. He has received the Professor of the Year award at Wayne Law four times.