AILA Presents Michael S. Vastine with the 2013 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award

Thursday, June 27, 2013

George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675 -

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Michael S. Vastine of St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami, FL, with the 2013 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award for outstanding professors in the area of immigration law. He will receive the award today during AILA's Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Mr. Vastine is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at St. Thomas University School of Law. He joined the St. Thomas faculty in 2004, focusing his practice and research on immigration litigation, particularly regarding the deportation consequences of criminal convictions and the due process rights of immigrants.

Litigation within the administrative courts of the Department of Justice and in the U.S. Courts of Appeal is Mr. Vastine's area of expertise and he has made a profound impact on the process and practice of representing immigrant defendants in Florida, particularly in his role as the central attorney in post-Padilla litigation.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the AILA South Florida Chapter and is active on multiple committees. He has drafted amicus briefs on cutting edge immigration litigation issues on behalf of the Chapter and other regional institutions. Additionally, he speaks at numerous conferences and trainings every year, sharing his knowledge as widely as possible. He and his law students have presented at domestic violence shelters, providing guidance to counselors who work with immigrants. He also assists with trainings for law enforcement officers and state attorneys throughout Florida, sharing information with them about the U Visa certification process.

A respected teacher and academic writer, he also maintains a docket of pro bono representation in addition to the clinical case load he supervises. By requiring his students to develop and participate in community service oriented projects, he creates an environment that produces students who are prepared to enter practice and function effectively in the professional environment.

Prof. Vastine is that rare combination of excellent and popular teacher, advocate, and AILA leader.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.