Denise L. Gilman

Denise L. Gilman

  • Clinical Professor

Faculty Profile: Denise L. Gilman

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Denise Gilman teaches and directs the Immigration Clinic after having joined the clinical faculty at the University of Texas Law School in the fall of 2007. Professor Gilman received her undergraduate degree with honors in political science from Northwestern University. She received her law degree from Columbia University School of Law where she served on the Law Review. Professor Gilman also has an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Gilman clerked for Judge Thomas M. Reavley, at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is fluent in Spanish.

Professor Gilman has written and practiced extensively in the international human rights and immigrants' rights fields. From 2000 to 2005, Professor Gilman was Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. At the Lawyers' Committee, Professor Gilman coordinated the representation of political asylum applicants by pro bono attorneys and engaged in advocacy on issues of significance to the newcomer community. She also investigated and litigated individual and impact cases involving law enforcement abuses against immigrants and discrimination against newcomers in housing and employment. From 1995-2000, Professor Gilman served as Human Rights Specialist at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights at the Organization of American States and then Director of the Mexico Project at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). Professor Gilman made her transition from legal practice to clinical teaching through completion of a two-year clinical teaching fellowship at the Georgetown University Law Center from 2005-2007.

Professor Gilman has been appointed by the President of the American Bar Association to serve as a member of the ABA Commission on Immigration for several terms.  In 2021, Casa Marianella honored Professor Gilman and the Immigration Clinic with its Ed Wendler Award for Outstanding Service to the Immigrant Community.  In 2019, Professor Gilman received a University of Texas Tower Award as the Outstanding Community Based Learning Professor.  In 2005, she received the Community Outreach Recognition and Opportunity ("CORO") Award from the D.C. Court of Appeals.  In 2003, Professor Gilman received an "Excellence in Lawyering" award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Professor Gilman served on the board of the Central American Resource Center in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Professor Gilman's scholarship includes: Immigration Detention, Inc., 6 J. Migration & Hum. Sec. 145 (2018) (peer-reviewed) (co-authored with Luis A. Romero); To Loose the Bonds: The Deceptive Promise of Freedom from Pretrial Immigration Detention, 92 Indiana L.J. 157 (2016); Realizing Liberty: The Use Of International Human Rights Law To Realign Immigration Detention In The United States, 36 Fordham Int'l L.J. 243 (2013); A "Bilingual" Approach to Language Rights, 24 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 1 (2011); Calling the United States' Bluff: How Sovereign Immunity Undermines the United States' Claim to an Effective Domestic Human Rights System, 95 Geo. L.J. 591 (2007).

Most Recent Media

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Professional Activities


December 6, 2023


American Bar Association Webinar

Immigration Enforcement Mechanisms at the U.S. Southwest Border: The Only Constant is Change

June 22, 2023


Texas Bar Annual Meeting, International Law Section

The End of Title 42 and Challenges at the Border

May 20, 2023


If/When/How and University of Texas Rapoport Center for Human Rights

Intersection of Immigration and Reproductive Health/Abortion Access


October 2022


University of Texas Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice Center for Public Interest Law

Expanding Forms of Immigration Detention and E-carceration

September 15, 2022



UNHCR, International Law, UNHCR Guidance, and Their Strategic Use in Representation and Litigation 



September 2022

Invited Participant

UNHCR Webinar

International Law, UNHCR Guidance, and Their Strategic Use in Representation and Litigation 

July 14, 2022


Law and Society International Meeting

A Change of Course on Asylum:  Ending Exceptionality


November 8, 2021


Harvard Law School Human Rights Program

Abusing Public Health Powers at the Border:  Litigating Title 42 Deportations before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

August 19, 2021


2021 AILA Asylum Virtual Conference


Nexus:  Effectively Presenting Your Argument Without Dissecting the Mind of the Persecutor


June 11, 2021


American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference

Fighting for Procedural Due Process in Immigration Proceedings 


November 18, 2020


American Immigration Lawyers Association Federal Court Litigation Section

Supreme Court Roundup

November 8, 2019


Metropolis North American Migration Policy Forum (Third Annual), San Diego, California

Restrictive Asylum Policies, Mobility Control and Stranded Refugees on North America's Borders 

July 22, 2020


Texas A&M School of Law CLE Webinar

Requesting Bond, Parole, and Custody Review During COVID-19

February 14, 2020


ABA Mid-Year Conference CLE

Fight to Preserve Safe Haven in the United States


December 17, 2019


Doctors without Borders, Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas

Defending Humanity:  Caring for Refugees and Migrants Trapped in Danger

October 17, 2019


ABA Webinar

Remain in Mexico - The Facts, the Fiction, and Methods to Challenge this Unprecedented Rebuke of America's Asylum System

September 13, 2019


2019 AILA Fall CLE Conference, Park City, Utah

Removal Skills - Custody Basics

June 5, 2019


University of London

Refugee Law Initiative Annual Conference - The Multiplying Immigration Mechanisms for Legal and Physical Exclusion from the US Asylum Process

January 3, 2019

AALS Annual Meeting

New Orleans, LA

Within their Grasp: Admitting, Financing and Supporting DREAMERS and DACA Students



October 18, 2018

Presentation, University of Gothenburg Law Clinic and Center for Global Migration

University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Asylum and Refugee Law in the USA – What is Happening Nationally and at the Texas/Mexico Border? 


September 28, 2018

Mexico’s Political Earthquake: The 2018 Elections, Democracy and Binational Relations

University of Texas, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Migration in United States-Mexico Relations Moving Forward


February 17, 2018

American Association for the Advancement of Science 2018 Annual Meeting

Austin, Texas


Migration: A case for Science Diplomacy?



December 7, 2017

9th Worldwide Global Alliance for Justice Conference

Puebla, Mexico

Cross-Border Clinical Collaboration to Provide Legal Aid and Advocacy for Asylum Seekers 


June 2017

Law and Society 2017 International Meeting

Mexico City

Immigration Detention, Inc.


April 2017

Immigration Detention in the Age of Migration and Control

USC Gould School of Law

Detention and Inequality


April 2017

American Immigration Law: The New Colossus

Texas A&M Law Review Symposium

What Do New Policies Mean for Immigrants and Refugees


January 2017

AALS Annual Meeting Discussion Group

San Francisco, CA

The Central American Refugee Crisis: A Discussion of the Current Response and Evaluation of U.S. Legal Obligations under Domestic and International Law



July 7, 2016

Rethinking the Global Refugee Protection System

SUNY Global Center, New York

Talk - Refugee and Unaccompanied Children: Family Detention


September 17, 2015

UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Central American Refugees in Detention: Rethinking U.S. Immigration


Opening Keynote – UnFAMILIAr Policies? The Detention of Central American Refugee Families

July 31, 2015

Panel - Women and Children First: Is Family Detention Really Justified and Necessary?

American Bar Association Annual Meeting

June 12, 2015

Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network Annual Human Rights in the U.S. Symposium/CLE: Engaging with the Inter-American Human Rights System for U.S. Advocacy

New York, NY

Speaker - Strategies for Effective Engagement