Skip to main content

Michele R. Pistone

Professor of Law


Professor Pistone is a Professor of Law, is the Founder and serves as Faculty Director for the Strategic Initiative for Migrants + Refugees and is the Founder and Faculty Director for VIISTA. She established the Law School’s in-house Clinical Program, which she built and directed for nine years and served as Director of the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES) from 1999-2019. Professor Pistone has also taught at Georgetown University Law Center, twice as a Visiting Professor at American University Washington College of Law and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Malta.

Professor Pistone is an Adjunct Fellow with the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, where she co-authored Disrupting Law School: How disruptive innovation will revolutionize the legal world. Founded by Harvard Business School Professor Christensen, the think tank applies Professor Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation to education and health care. She is also a Fellow at the Institute for the Advancement of American Legal System’s Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers. ETL partners with law schools seeking to align legal education with the needs of the evolving profession.

Professor Pistone is a regular speaker on both refugee and immigration law and legal technology and legal education. Professor Pistone's research focus on technological innovations in the practice of law and in legal education, asylum and refugee law, immigration law, migration, clinical education, and Catholic social thought. She is co-author of a groundbreaking book entitled Stepping Out of the Brain Drain: Applying Catholic Social Teaching in a New Era of Migration (Lexington Books 2007). She has also written numerous articles and book chapters.

Professor Pistone is a leader in advocating for the incorporation of online technologies and learning sciences in law school teaching. She founded LegalED, an online community of legal scholars focused on enhancing legal education and learning. The website hosts hundreds of videos on law school teaching and also on legal topics. She is a regular speaker at conferences on these topics and has taught hundreds of legal scholars to use technology in their teaching. Professor Pistone directed and produced an 11-video series for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and a series of videos on immigration law with She also hosted two Igniting Law Teaching conferences at American University Washington College of Law, each of which brought together 35+ legal scholars from around the world to give TEDx-styled on Talks topics related to law teaching. The teaching pedagogy series from those conferences is available here. Her TEDx Talk on the Future of Higher Education has been viewed more than 12,000 times.

Professor Pistone is our TEDxVillanovaU licensee and has organized three TEDxVillanovaU conferences on campus. Professor Pistone blogs, on occasion, for Best Practices in Legal Education, Legal Technology Blog (part of the Law Professor Blogs Network) and the Christensen Institute.

Prior to joining the Villanova faculty in 1999, Professor Pistone was a teaching fellow in the asylum clinic (Center for Applied Legal Studies) at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Pistone received her B.S. cum laude New York University, her J.D. cum laude from St. John's University School of Law, and her LL.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center. At St. John's, she was a member of the St. John's Law Review. Before joining the Villanova faculty in 1999, she was an associate in the corporate and telecommunications departments at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City and Washington, D.C., the Legal Director of Human Rights First in Washington, D.C., where she emerged as a leading advocate for justice in the immigration law system.

Practice Experience:

  • Corporate Associate, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, NY Office, 1989-1991
  • Telecommunications Associate, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, DC Office, 1991-1997
  • Asylum, Refugee and Immigration Law Clinical Professor, 1997-2019
Professor Michele R. Pistone

Office: Rm 324, John F. Scarpa Hall
Phone: 610-519-5286
Fax: 610-519-5173


Courses and Seminars

  • Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES)
  • Advanced Clinic 


Georgetown University Law Center, LLM

St. John's University School of Law, JD

New York University, BS