Lori Nessel

Professor Lori Nessel

Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • J.D., CUNY School of Law | B.A., University of California
  • Contact:

  • [email protected]
  • Tel: 973-642-8700
  • SSRN Site link
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses:

  • Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, Immigration and Naturalization Law, International Human Rights, Comparative Issues in Refugee Law, Gender and the Law, Professional Responsibility

Lori A. Nessel's teaching and scholarship focuses largely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, international human rights, rule of law, and access to justice. She is a Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic. Professor Nessel teaches Immigration and Naturalization Law, Professional Responsibility, and the Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic. She has also taught International Human Rights Law, Gender and the Law, Selected Topics in Immigration Law and Advanced Comparative Issues in Refugee Law. Professor Nessel came to Seton Hall Law School in 1995 after completing a Skadden Arps Public Interest Law Fellowship representing migrant farmworkers in Upstate New York and working at a small civil rights firm in New York City. In her Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, Professor Nessel supervises live cases and human rights fact-finding and advocacy projects, including claims under the Refugee and Torture Conventions, as well as cases involving human trafficking, family reunification and other forms of relief from deportation. Under her supervision, the Clinic has won groundbreaking decisions, including one of the first rulings to recognize domestic violence as torture under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Her Clinic is now home to Seton Hall Law School’s component of the state-wide Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative. As part of this Initiative, law students join forces with a large in-house legal team to represent detained immigrants facing deportation and family separation, with a goal of ensuring that no detained immigrant in New Jersey faces consequences as severe as deportation without a lawyer by their side.

From 2006-2020, Professor Nessel served as Director of the Center for Social Justice, home of the Law School’s large Clinical and Pro Bono Programs. She has also served as faculty director of the Haiti Rule of Law Project and has led groups of law students to Haiti, Guatemala, and Nicaragua for human rights field work. Professor Nessel’s international teaching, training and research also includes: lecturing at the L’ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit (E.S.C.D.R.O.J.) in Jeremie, Haiti, teaching International Human Rights Law in Seton Hall Law School's summer program in Italy and in the Law School's Chamonix/Geneva intersession program, providing clinical training in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Valencia and Madrid, Spain, and conducting comparative immigration law research in Spain as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Professor Nessel has written numerous scholarly articles on various aspects of immigration and international human rights norms including: legal and moral challenges to immigration enforcement initiatives at the southern border, the intersection of immigration and labor laws as it affects undocumented workers, gender and immigration issues, the Torture Convention, family reunification, post-conflict community justice mechanisms and gender-based torture in Rwanda, the plight of migrant farmworkers, and private unlawful medical deportations by US hospitals. Her scholarship has been published in top academic journals (including University of Minnesota Law Review and Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review) and republished in annual immigration anthologies. She has also presented at numerous academic, immigration, clinical, community and religious-based conferences both locally and internationally.



Border Enforcement as State-Created Danger, 6 St. John's Law Review 96 (2022) (Co-Authored with Jenny-Brooke Condon)

Enforced Invisibility: Toward New Theories of Accountability for the United States’ Role in Endangering Asylum Seekers, 55 UC Davis Law Review 1513 (2022)

When Time Stands Still: Eliminating Immigration 'Death Sentences', 75 SMU Law Review 369 (2022)

Deporting America’s Children: The Demise of Discretion and Family Values in Immigration Law, 61 Ariz. L. Rev. 605 (2019)

Instilling Fear and Regulating Behavior: Immigration Law as Social Control, 31 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 525 (2017)

Deliberate Destitution as Deterrent: Withholding the Right to Work and Undermining Asylum Protection, 52 San Diego Law Review 313 (2015)

Disposable Workers: Applying a Human Rights Framework to Analyze Duties Owed to Seriously Injured or Ill Immigrants, 19 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 61 (2012)

Externalized Borders and the Invisible Refugee, 40 Colum. Human Rights L. Rev. 625 (2009)

The Practice of Medical Repatriation: The Privatization of Immigration Enforcement and Denial of Human Rights, 55 Wayne L. Rev. 1725 (2009)

Families at Risk: How Errant Enforcement and Restrictionist Integration Policies Threaten the Immigrant Family in the European Union and the United States, 36 Hofstra L. Rev. 1271 (2008)

Rape and Recovery in Rwanda: The Viability of Local Justice Initiatives and the Availability of Surrogate Protection for Women That Flee, Symposium: Gender, War & Peace: Women’s Status in the Wake of Conflict, 15 Mich. St. J. Int'l L. 101 (2007)

Forced to Choose: Torture, Family Reunification and United States Immigration Policy, 78 Temp. L. Rev. 897 (Winter 2005)

"Willful Blindness" to Gender-Based Violence Abroad: United States Implementation of Article Three of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 71 (November 2004)

Undocumented Immigrants in the Workplace: The Fallacy of Labor Protection and the Need for Reform, 36 Harv. C.R.-C.L.L. Rev. 345 (Summer 2001)


Outsourcing Refugee Protection: The Human Rights Implications of Recent European and U.S. Initiatives to Externalize Their Borders, in El Derecho Internacional En La Frontera De Los Derechos Humanos, Madrid, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Salome Adroher Biosca and Irene Claro Quintans, EDs) (2023)

Human Dignity or State Sovereignty?:  The Roadblocks to Full Realization of the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, in Research Handbook on  International Law and Migration, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, Research Handbooks in International Law series (2014) (V. Chetail, Ed.)

Abuse of (Plenary) Power? Judicial Deference and the Post-9/11 War on Immigrants in Awakening from the Dream, Civil Rights under Siege and the New Struggle for Equal Justice, in Carolina Academic Press (2006) (co-authored with Anjum Gupta; Denise C. Morgan, Rachel D. Godsil, and Joy Moses, Eds.)


Migrant Farmworkers, Homeless and Runaway Youth: Challenging the Barriers to Inclusion, 13 Law & Ineq. 99 (1994) (co-author Kevin Ryan)


Lori A. Nessel on the Legality and Ethics of Medical Repatriation, LexisNexis, Emerging Issues 4404 (2009)


Full list of presentations available in Curriculum Vitae

Enforced Invisibility: Toward New Theories of Accountability for the United States’ Role in Endangering Asylum Seekers, Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls, AALS Annual Conference, Immigration Section, virtual (January 7, 2021) (paper presentation)

When Time Stands Still: Bringing Immigration Law and Practice into Conformity with the Basic Tenets of our Civil, Criminal, and Administrative Law Regimes, AALS Annual Clinical Conference, AALS, virtual (April 30, 2021) (work-in-progress presentation)

Refugee and Asylum Law, NJSBA Annual Conference, New Jersey State Bar Association, virtual (May 13, 2020) (panelist)

Access to Justice/Civil Gideon, New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Conference, Atlantic City, NJ (May 15, 2019) (panelist)

Current Issues in Asylum Law, FBA Annual William Strasser Immigration Conference, Newark, NJ (May 29, 2019) (panelist)

Representing Vulnerable Populations, American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Immigration Law Conference, Orlando, FL (June 19, 2019) (panelist)

Immigration Forum, New Jersey Reentry Foundation, Union City, New Jersey (July 19, 2018) (Panelist)

Asylum and Refugee Law Update: What the A-B- Decision Means for Domestic Violence Applicants, Njsba/Njicle, Newark, Nj (September 28, 2018) (Panelist)

Children’s Asylum Claims After the Attorney Generals’ Decision in A-B-, Training for Kids in Need of Defense (K.i.n.d.), Roseland, New Jersey (September 20, 2018) (Third Circuit Expert)

International Law and Human Rights Emerging Scholarship Conference, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Nyu Law School (April 20, 2018) (Invited Discussant)

The Intersection of Immigration Law and Health Policy, Indiana Health Law Review Symposium, Indiana University McKinney School of Law (October 26, 2018) (Panelist)