Lucas Guttentag, Professor of the Practice of Law, is currently on leave to serve in the Department of Justice as Senior Counselor to the Deputy Attorney General. With a career that spans advocacy, academia, and government, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on immigration law and policy. Guttentag founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) and directed it for twenty-five years from 1985-2010, litigating complex class action and appellate cases on behalf of refugees and noncitizens throughout the country. He served in the Obama administration as a senior counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and to the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2014-2016. His writings focus on the intersection of immigration, civil rights, and administrative reform, and Guttentag regularly advises advocates, NGO’s, philanthropies, and governmental entities on immigration policy and litigation strategy. With the advent of the Trump administration, he created the Immigration Policy Tracking Project with Stanford and Yale law students, a dynamic website profiled in the New Yorker and New York Times, to catalogue every Trump-era immigration policy and track its current status.
Guttentag has successfully argued major cases in the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and many trial and appellate courts throughout the country. He has testified before Congress, often appeared in the national media, and written for scholarly and general audience publications. Guttentag is a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and recipient of an honorary degree from CUNY Law School. He was named a Human Rights Hero by the ABA Human Rights Journal, appellate lawyer of the year by California Lawyer magazine, one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon, litigator of the year by the American Immigration Lawyers Association four times, and honored by many national and community-based organizations. Before joining the ACLU, he practiced civil rights law in Los Angeles, taught at Columbia Law School, and served as law clerk to federal district judge William Wayne Justice in Texas. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard Law School.
In the fall, Prof. Guttentag teaches at Yale Law School where he is Martin R. Flug Lecturer in Law and Senior Research Scholar.