via Harvard Law Today

Headshot of Sabrineh Ardalan

credit: Martha Stewart

Sabrineh Ardalan ’02, who teaches in the fields of immigration and refugee law and advocacy, was appointed a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, effective January 1.  Ardalan, formerly an assistant clinical professor and assistant director of HIRC, succeeds Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84, founder and inaugural faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic Program.

“Through her outstanding work in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Sabi Ardalan has made vital contributions to litigation, advocacy, pedagogy, and teaching in the important fields of immigration and refugee rights,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of Harvard Law School. “Through her exceptional expertise and commitment as a teacher, Sabi has trained countless students to do excellent and impactful work serving countless clients at a critical time.  I thank Debbie Anker for her vision in founding HIRC and training lawyers now working across the globe. I know that Sabi will build on that great foundation to ensure that Harvard Law School continues to lead, to contribute, and to help others through the clinic’s superb work.”

Ardalan joined HIRC as a clinical fellow in 2008. She was appointed a lecturer on law in 2010 and an assistant clinical professor in 2017. In 2012, she was appointed assistant director of HIRC.

At HLS, Ardalan teaches courses on immigration, U.S. asylum law, international refugee law, international labor migration, and trauma, refugees and asylum. In her clinical work, she supervises and trains law students in direct client representation, appellate litigation, research, and policy advocacy.

She has written amicus briefs on cutting-edge issues in U.S. immigration and asylum law submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals, federal district courts, circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ardalan initiated the clinic’s interdisciplinary approach, partnering with an on-site social worker, and currently oversees and collaborates closely with the clinic’s social work staff as part of her teaching and client advocacy. Since 2017, she has helped lead HIRC’s response to the travel ban and border and interior enforcement executive orders, and launched HIRC’s efforts to provide legal and social services to undocumented members of the Harvard community.

Ardalan is a Fulbright specialist at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Faculty of Law for a 2020 project on human rights and legitimacy in European Union and U.S. migration and asylum law. She has been a visiting lecturer on immigration and refugee law at Yale University and at the College of Law and Business in Tel Aviv, Israel. She co-taught an international human rights practicum in New Delhi, India, as an adjunct professor with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Boyd School of Law. In 2016, she conducted research on the development of the asylum system in Morocco and EU border externalization policies as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. In 2015, she was one of the honorees in the HLS International Women’s Day Celebration.

Ardalan’s work has been published or is forthcoming in a wide range of publications, including the Brooklyn Law Review, the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, The Fordham Urban Law Journal, The Leiden Journal of International Law, Westlaw’s Immigration Briefings and in major media publications. Her article, “Trump is Rewriting Asylum Law,” appeared in the Atlantic (Nov. 13, 2018). She has also contributed to several books, including “Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness Expertise and Testimony” (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and “Securitizing Asylum Flows” (Brill, forthcoming).

“I am deeply grateful to the Dean, Clinic Founder Deborah Anker, and Harvard Law School for this opportunity to work with incredible law students and dedicated colleagues to advance the rights of immigrants and refugees,” said Ardalan. “Debbie is a legend in the field who has taught and mentored countless students. I am lucky to be one of them. It is such a privilege to be part of this community. And at a moment when there is an unprecedented assault on immigrants’ rights, it is also our obligation to use our skills to pursue justice.”

Anker, who will continue to support the program as Founder and engage in research in the field, said: “Sabi has that extraordinary combination of commitment to clients, the immigrant community, and brilliant appellate advocacy and scholarship. I know the Program will expand and flourish under her directorship.”

Prior to her work with the clinic, Ardalan clerked for Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She previously served as the Equal Justice America fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, where she worked on advocacy for a right to health care under U.S. and international law, and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine.

She earned a B.A. in history and international studies from Yale University in 1997 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002.