AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Presents David Thronson with the 2021 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award

5/27/21 AILA Doc. No. 21052700.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes David Thronson, the Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law at the Michigan State University College of Law, and director of the Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children, and cofounder of the Immigration Law Clinic, with the 2021 Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award.

David Thronson previously served as MSU Law’s associate dean for academic affairs and as associate dean for experiential education. Since 2017, Mr. Thronson has taught Immigration and Nationality at the University of Michigan Law School. His research focuses on the intersection of family law and immigration law, in particular on the impact of immigration law on children.

Professor Thronson graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in mathematics and education, then taught in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. He completed a master's degree at Teachers College, Columbia University and served for several years as a teacher and administrator in the New York City Public Schools. 

He earned his JD from Harvard Law School, where he served as co-editor-in-chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. After clerking for the Hon. A. Wallace Tashima in California, Professor Thronson returned to New York City as a Skadden Fellow at The Door's Legal Services Center. He then served as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law.

From 1999 to 2002, Professor Thronson taught in the Lawyering Program of New York University School of Law and served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and Hofstra University School of Law, where he taught immigration law, public international law, and international human rights. Professor Thronson subsequently served as professor and associate dean for clinical studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. In 2014, Professor Thronson was elected to membership in the American Law Institute.


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.