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Sarah Paoletti

Practice Professor of Law; Director, Transnational Legal Clinic

Sarah Paoletti

Sarah Paoletti founded and directs the Transnational Legal Clinic, the law school’s international human rights and immigration clinic. Students enrolled in the clinic grapple with international and comparative legal norms, working across borders, legal systems, cultures, and languages, representing individuals in immigration proceedings, and advocating on behalf of and in collaboration with organizations and individuals before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the UN, and other fora. Continue reading…


MIGRANT WORKERS' ACCESS TO JUSTICE AT HOME: NEPAL, Migrant Workers' Access to Justice Series (Open Society Foundations), 2014

MIGRANT WORKERS' ACCESS TO JUSTICE AT HOME: INDONESIA (Open Society Foundations Migrant Workers' Access to Justice Series, 2013) (with Bassina Farbenblum and Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson).

Articles and Book Chapters

Human Rights Developments at the State and Local Level in the United States: A Bird's-Eye View, 87 PA. BAR ASS'N Q. 63 (2016) (with JoAnn Kamuf Ward).

Preparing Lawyers for Practice in a Globalized World: A Proposal for Transnational Clinical Partnerships, in GLOBALIZATION: THE CRUCIAL PHASE (Brian Spooner, ed., Penn Press 2015)
[Available Here]

Finding the Pearls When the World is Your Oyster: Case and Project Selection in Clinic Design, 5 DREXEL L. REV. 423 (2013).

The Human Rights of Immigrants: Confronting the Legacy of 9/11, in THE 9/11 EFFECT AND ITS LEGACY ON U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS: ESSAYS, REMARKS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS 57-60 (Penn State Law and The Pennsylvania State University, School of International Service, State College, Pa., Fall 2012).

Labor and Employment Rights, in HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES: A HANDBOOK FOR LEGAL AID ATTORNEYS, Sec. 5.3, (Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law, 2011).
[Available Here]

REPORT OF THE AUGUST 2011 HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA (Sept. 2, 2011) (with Colleen P. Breslin, Stephanie Luce, Beth Lyon; contributing editors, Fran Ansley, William Quigley).

Redefining Human Rights Lawyering Through the Lens of Critical Theory: Lessons for Pedagogy and Practice, 18 GEO. J. ON POVERTY L. & POL’Y 337 (2011) (with Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Davida Finger, Meetali Jain, JoNel Newman, and Deborah M. Weissman).

Using the Universal Periodic Review to Advance Human Rights What Happens in Geneva Must Not Stay in Geneva, 45 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 268 (2011).

Claiming Our Role as Human Rights Lawyers: How a Human Rights Framework Can Advance Framework Advocacy, 45 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 177 (2011) (with Martha F. Davis, Chandra Bhatnagar, Monique Harden, & Cheryl Hystad).

Transnational Responses to Transnational Exploitation: A Proposal for Bi-National Migrant Rights Clinics, 30 U. PA. J. INT’L L. 1171 (2009).

Pursuit of a Rights-Based Approach to Migration: Recent Developments at the UN and the Inter-American System, HUM. RTS. BRIEF, Spg. 2007, at 14.

Deriving Support from International Law for the Right to Counsel in Civil Cases, 15 TEMP. POL. & CIV. RTS. L. REV. 651 (2006).

Making Visible the Invisible: Strategies for Responding to Globalization’s Impact on Immigrant Workers in the United States, 13 IND. J. GLOBAL LEGAL STUD. 105 (2006).

Human Rights for All Workers: The Emergence of Protections for Unauthorized Workers in the Inter-American Human Rights System, HUM. RTS. BRIEF, Fall 2004, at 5.

Inter-American Developments on Globalization’s Refugees: New Rights for Migrant Workers and Their Families, EUROPEAN YEARBOOK OF MINORITY ISSUES Vol. 3, 2003/4 ISBN 90 04 14820 0, 63-87 (co-author).

Court Interpreters and Preserving Due Process in Criminal Proceedings, in ABA JUDGE’S GUIDE TO IMMIGRATION LAW IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS (American Bar Association 2004).

More publications can be found here.

Working Papers

How international are the international human rights of migrant workers? Understanding the extraterritorial reach of human rights obligations (forthcoming)

International Human Rights and Law and Organizing as the Pillars in Building the Bridge to Overcome the Rights-Reality Divide for Migrant Workers (forthcoming)

Research Areas

  • Asylum Law
  • Immigrant Rights
  • International Human Rights
  • Labor and Employment
  • Law and Organizing


Penn Law – Practice Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Legal Clinic (2013-); Practice Associate Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Legal Clinic (2010-13); Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer (2006-10)

American University – Practitioner in Residence (2003-06)

Independence Fellow (1998-99)

Skadden Fellow (2000-02)

Friends of Farmworkers Inc. – Staff Attorney (2002-03)

Law Clerk to Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit (1999-2000)

Professional Activities

Member, Alumni Board, The Human Rights Brief, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, American University, Washington College of Law (appointed Spring 2004).

Co-Coordinator, Asia-Middle East Migration Corridor Transnational Access to Justice Project (OSF-IMI Grantee) (Aug. 2011-Dec. 2012).

Member, Board of Directors, ACANA (African Cultural Alliance of North America), Inc. (Philadelphia, PA)

President, Board of Directors, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc., Zacatecas, MEXICO (elected February 2009), Founding Member of Board (appointed July 2005).

Consultant / Senior Coordinator, US Human Rights Network, US Universal Periodic Review Project (Jan. 2010 – April 2011) (coordinate civil society participation in, draft written submissions for, and conduct presentations and meetings in conjunction with US Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council).

Co-Chair, Standing Committee on International Clinical Education, Section on Clinical Legal Education, American Association of Law Schools (AALS); Chair, International Human Rights Law Section (Jan. 2010-Jan. 2011); Chair-Elect (Jan. 2009-Jan. 2010); Member of Executive Committee (Jan. 2006-present).

Member and Secretary, Board of Directors, Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., Philadelphia, PA (appointed June 2006).


  • Transnational Legal Clinic
  • Lawyering for Human Rights in the 21st Century

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