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Michael Kirkpatrick


Michael T. Kirkpatrick is an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group (PCLG) in Washington, DC, where he litigates public interest cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries, including the U.S. Supreme Court. His practice areas include constitutional law, civil rights, class actions, administrative law, and open government. Michael joined PCLG in 2004. From 2014-2016, he was a full-time visiting professor at Georgetown Law School and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at the Institute for Public Representation. He returned to PCLG in August 2016.

Before joining PCLG, Michael was a senior trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (1995-2004), where he litigated employment discrimination cases against state and local government employers, and defended the constitutionality of federal affirmative action programs. Earlier in his career (1991-1995), he was a staff attorney with the Farm Worker Division of Texas Rural Legal Aid, where he litigated employment and civil rights cases on behalf of migrant, transnational, and contingent workers, negotiated labor agreements for striking workers, and counseled farm worker unions and community organizations.

Since 2007, Michael has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, teaching a course on ethics in public interest practice and mentoring students in the Public Interest Law Scholar program. He has also taught a seminar on public interest lawyering at George Washington University Law School.

Michael is a recipient of the Peter M. Cicchino Award for Outstanding Advocacy in the Public Interest, and a seven-time recipient of the Department of Justice Special Achievement Award. He has been a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School, the Law and Policy Mentor for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and a Government Fellow for the ABA’s Section of Labor and Employment Law. Michael is a frequent speaker on civil rights, legal ethics, and public interest lawyering.

Michael is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and Texas (inactive), and is admitted to practice in numerous federal courts. He graduated from Texas Christian University and American University Law School.

Get to know Michael Kirkpatrick.