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Michele Pistone

United States  
Villanova University School of Law
Joined March 2019
Interests: Access to Information, Citizenship, Gender-based violence, Other
I am an immigration law professor and direct an asylum clinic for low-income clients. My students and I have been representing asylum seekers for more than 25 years. I am now building a new online educational program to train non-lawyers to represent immigrants in immigration court and before the US Department of Homeland Security. It is called VIISTA - Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates (VIISTA). VIISTA is online, scalable and accessible. It will empower non-lawyers to understand the law and operate in the legal system. VIISTA is an example of an effort to build a legal empowerment network. I think we can learn a lot from each other. More on VIISTA is available on our website immigrant advocate.villanova.edu.

here is some more about me:
Michele R. Pistone is a Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law, where she has taught since 1999. At Villanova she founded the school’s in-house Clinical Program, which she directed for 9 years, and also the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES). Through CARES, Professor Pistone works with law students to provide free legal representation to asylum seekers and others fleeing persecution and violence. Professor Pistone has served on the University’s Partnership Committee with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) since its inception in 2004, and through the Partnership has organized conferences on human trafficking, Iraqi refugees, and the migration of unaccompanied children in collaboration with CRS.

Professor Pistone is an advisor of Migration to the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. She is also an associate co-editor of the Journal on Migration and Human Security and has written extensively on immigration and refugee protection, including on issues related to detention of asylum seekers, the one-year deadline for asylum applications, expedited removal, overseas refugee resettlement, as well as on the migration of skilled and educated migrants. Her book, Stepping Out of the Brain Drain: Applying Catholic Social Thought in a New Era of Migration (Lexington Books), which she co-authored with John J. Hoeffner, as well as other articles and book chapters, looks at migration through the lens of Catholic Social Thought.

Professor Pistone has taught at American University Washington College of Law, Georgetown Law, and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Malta. Before becoming a professor, she served as the Acting Legal Director of Human Rights First, where she coordinated a Congressional campaign to defeat certain legislative initiatives that would have imposed stricter restrictions on asylum protection.

Professor Pistone is interested in social media and its role in creating networks and facilitating movements. She blogs on Best Practices in Legal Education and the Legal Technology Blog. She is also a TEDx Licensee and has organized two TEDxVillanovaU conferences at Villanova University.

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