Twenty full-time professors will join the University of Michigan Law School faculty beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, with research and teaching interests focused in areas as diverse as economics, energy law, entrepreneurship, international law, intellectual property, philosophy, and race and inequality, among others. 

Three fellows—Victoria Clark, Elizabeth Cole, and Courtney Peterson—will join the Michigan Law School Clinical Fellows program.

These appointments follow the additions made to the faculty in recent academic years including Assistant Professors of Law Daniel Fryer, Emily Prifogle, and Roseanna Sommers; Clinical Assistant Professor of Law Kerry Kornblatt; and Professors from Practice Luis C.deBaca and Susan D. Page, both former U.S. Ambassadors. 

“These new faculty members represent the very best in innovative research, practice, and classroom teaching,” said Mark D. West, the David A. Breach Dean of Law and Nippon Life Professor of Law. “We are excited to add such a tremendous range of expertise and experience to our community, and we look forward to the many ways they will enrich learning opportunities for our students.”

New Faculty Profiles

Meet Our New Faculty Members

Michelle Adams

Professor Michelle Adams smiling with a blurry city street background

 

Though the majority of Michelle Adams’s research centers on race discrimination and the struggles of school desegregation, she is the first to admit she did not experience either growing up in Detroit. Adams—who has joined the Michigan Law faculty as the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law—instead recalls an idyllic childhood.

“I had a very different upbringing than lots and lots of Black folks did,” she said.

She described the racially mixed Palmer Woods neighborhood where she grew up; the support and education she received at The Roeper School, an independent school in the suburbs; and the many mentors in her life, from teachers to her parents’ friends, who were doctors, lawyers, and educators...

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Julian Arato

Professor Julian Arato standing in front of building columns

 

Julian Arato, one of the nation’s emerging voices on international law, is joining the University of Michigan Law School faculty. Arato’s arrival further elevates the institution’s robust position as a scholarly leader in international law.

“Michigan Law has played a significant role in developing and conceptualizing international law and has had amazing success in generating top-flight practitioners in the field,” Arato said. “I am so excited to join this special tradition at Michigan and help take it forward.”

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Karima Bennoune, JD/MA ’94

Professor Karima Bennoune standing in a Michigan Law classroom.

 

Karima Bennoune, JD/MA ’94, began her legal education at the University of Michigan through a joint program in law and Middle Eastern and North African studies and earned a graduate certificate in women’s studies.

Now an internationally recognized specialist in public international law and international human rights law, she has come full circle back to Michigan Law...

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Kristin Collins

Professor Kristin Collins

 

One of the nation’s most prominent legal scholars in the areas of citizenship and immigration law, Kristin Collins, will be joining the University of Michigan Law School faculty as a professor of law in 2023.

Originally from North Carolina, Collins earned her law degree from Yale University and is ecstatic about her move to Ann Arbor...

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Sam Erman, ’07

Professor Sam Erman leaning against a building column

 

Sam Erman, ’07, a leading scholar of law and history pertaining to citizenship, the Constitution, empire, race, and legal change, has returned to his alma mater as a professor of law.

Erman offers two stories behind how he found this field of study.

The first, he said, is the more “scholarly” version: While earning his PhD at U-M in American culture, he wanted to answer the question, “How do modestly situated people that you might not think of as legal actors end up having an impact on the history of law?”

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Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ’97

Matthew Fletcher

 

Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ’97, an appellate tribal judge and former in-house counsel for Native American tribes, will return to his alma mater this fall as a full-time faculty member at the University of Michigan Law School. Fletcher serves as chief justice for two tribes, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Fletcher will serve as the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, an endowed professorship that honors the former dean of the Law School who later served as the University’s fourth president...

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Noah Kazis

Professor Noah Kazis looking at camera with a blurry city building behind him.

 

Noah Kazis was poised to pivot into a teaching career at a major university after practicing law in-house at the New York City Law Department and spearheading research projects at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

His opportunity to enter academia materialized this year when he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School as an assistant professor of law. 

When the fall term begins, Kazis will leverage his professional experience in the public sector and share his in-depth legal knowledge of key areas such as local government law and land use with Michigan Law students...

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Alexandra Klass

Professor Alexandra Klass standing in front of a hydroelectric facility

 

The threat of global climate change has made the transition to renewable energy imperative, but for the United States to truly achieve a future free from fossil fuels, we will also need to adapt our regulatory system.

It’s a thorny legal issue—and one to which Alexandra Klass, who is joining Michigan Law as the James G. Degnan Professor of Law, has dedicated much of her career. 

She will join the Michigan Law faculty following her current appointment as deputy general counsel for energy efficiency and clean energy demonstrations at the U.S. Department of Energy...

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Christopher Knight

Professor Chris Knight standing on a treelined street

 

When Christopher Knight joins the faculty of Michigan Law’s Legal Practice program this fall, he will bring a wealth of knowledge gleaned from litigating complex commercial litigation, class actions, trade secrets, and white-collar criminal defense.

He’ll also bring two cryptic tattoos on his arm.

Knight, a clinical assistant professor of law, is more than happy to share the backstories...

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Julianna Lee, ’05

Professor Julianna Lee with blurry columns in the background

 

Julia Lee has devoted her professional life to serving families, children, and victims of domestic violence in hands-on, pragmatic ways, including a recent seven-year stint as supervising attorney of the Supporting Families Workgroup at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). 

Now, Lee is bringing those experiences as a public interest attorney to the University of Michigan Law School, eager to enrich and inform the student experience at her alma mater as a clinical assistant professor of law...

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Chavi Keeney Nana

Professor Chavi Nana standing in front a glass wall with city buildings behind her.

 

For the past decade, Chavi Keeney Nana has blazed a trail in international criminal investigations as counsel in the New York office of WilmerHale, where her practice has focused on anti-corruption, human rights, human trafficking, and ESG (environment, social, and governance) issues.  

Nana has represented multinational corporations and financial institutions in civil and criminal investigations before the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. She has also advised executives and in-house strategy teams on conducting risk assessment and building stress-tested compliance programs leading to negotiated resolutions with domestic and international enforcement authorities...

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Sanjukta Paul

Professor Sanjukta Paul standing in a Michigan Law classroom.

 

U.S. antitrust law was meant to check concentrations of economic power while also promoting fair competition.

What antitrust law was not meant to do is prevent workers from organizing.

But the fact that it has been applied that way, both historically and in our own times, opens up basic questions about antitrust’s own purposes. It also causes us to think about labor markets and the legal organization of markets more broadly, said Sanjukta Paul, who joins the Michigan Law faculty this summer as a professor specializing in antitrust and labor law...

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Aaron Perzanowski

Professor Aaron Perzanowski with a tatto shop in the background

 

Aaron Perzanowski has always been fascinated by the way technology influences how people express themselves and communicate with one another, and the ways in which the law influences that process.

While he attended law school at the University of California, Berkeley, “because that seemed to be epicenter where people were talking about copyright and intellectual property policy issues,” he is excited to join another place with robust conversations and scholarship in this ever-changing field: Michigan Law...

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Rachel Rothschild

Professor Rachel Rothschild

 

Rachel Rothschild’s connection to the environment runs deep. She grew up in Massachusetts reading Henry David Thoreau and exploring conservation areas protected by the Audubon Society. 

“If I hadn't ended up a law professor, I think I would have become a nature writer to motivate people to do something about protecting the environment,” said Rothschild, whose undergraduate major at Princeton was the history of science, with a concentration in environmental studies and creative writing...

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Steven Schaus

Professor Steven Schaus standing in front a red brick building

 

With a doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Harvard Law School, Steven Schaus plans to dive into philosophical questions about the nature of law and the point of legal institutions, especially private law institutions like tort. 

He recently stepped into a new teaching role as assistant professor of law at Michigan Law after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Project on the Foundations of Private Law at Harvard...

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Salomé Viljoen

Professor Salome Viljoen

 

Salomé Viljoen first became interested in information law when she saw how it blended her master’s degree in economics with her earnest curiosity in social policy, consumer protection, and economic justice. 

Viljoen—now a rising scholar in the dynamic and fast-evolving field of technology and information law—is joining the Michigan Law faculty as an assistant professor...

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Christopher J. Walker

Professor Chris Walker with the U.S. capital in the background

 

Christopher Walker, a leading administrative law scholar who has worked in all three branches of the federal government, has joined the University of Michigan Law School as a professor of law. 

“The University of Michigan law faculty includes some of the deepest thinkers on administrative law, regulation, and separation of powers, and it’s a thrill to now be a member of this dynamic group,” said Walker...

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Kristen Wolff

Professor Kristin Wolff standing in the Michigan Law Reading Room

 

Kristen Wolff, a patent attorney, joins Michigan Law’s faculty as a clinical assistant professor of law, after spending the past year as a visiting clinical assistant professor at the Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic. 

Wolff has found that when people discover she is a patent attorney, they often tell her about their ideas for inventions. But very few are able to pursue the patents that might help turn their inspiration into a business...

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Ekow N. Yankah

Professor Ekow Yanak standing in front a blurry city building

 

In 1997, Ekow Yankah left the University of Michigan as a 21-year old clutching an undergraduate degree in political science and law school ambitions.

He returns 25 years later the father of two school-aged children, a sought-after expert on criminal law and political philosophy, and the Law School’s new Thomas M. Cooley Professor of Law. 

“I’m deeply in love with the University of Michigan,” said Yankah...

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Jeffery Y. Zhang

Professor Jeffery Zhang standing in front of the Federal Reserve building

 

Jeffery Zhang has met many talented alumni of the University of Michigan Law School who have come from Ann Arbor to Washington, D.C.; more specifically, to the Federal Reserve, where Zhang has worked for the past five years. 

Now the tables are turned, and Zhang is leaving the Washington Beltway to move to Ann Arbor, where he will serve as an assistant professor of law at Michigan Law...

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