Stacy Brustin


  • Columbus School of Law
  • Expertise

  • Immigrant and Refugee Law and Policy
  • Family Law
  • Access to Justice & Professional Responsibility
  • Clinical Legal Education
  • Stacy Brustin is the Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Clinic of Columbus Community Legal Services, the law school’s on-campus clinical education program. She supervises students engaged in litigation, limited assistance, and policy reform on behalf of immigrants and refugees in D.C. and Virginia.  She also has expertise in family law and public benefits matters. She publishes and conducts presentations in the areas of access to justice, immigrant rights, family law, professional responsibility and clinical legal education. 

    Professor Brustin came to the Columbus School of Law in 1991. While at Catholic University, Professor Brustin served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2006-2009 and as the director of the LL.M program from 2010 - 2017.  She also directed the Civil Practice Clinic.  Professor Brustin recently taught an Immigration/Human Rights Seminar in the CUA Law School Rome Summer Program and has taught The American Litigation Process at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
    Professor Brustin was appointed to the D.C. Access to Justice Commission in 2017 and is active in the D.C. legal services advocacy community. She serves on the Board of Advisors of Ayuda. 
    Professor Brustin received her B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She was awarded a Ferguson Post-Graduate Fellowship from Harvard to study human rights and community legal education in Mexico. Upon her return to the United States, she began working as a staff attorney at Ayuda, Inc., a non-profit legal services agency serving the immigrant and refugee community in Washington D.C. In 1991, she founded the Hermanas Unidas (Sisters United) Community Education Project, a program of Ayuda, Inc., designed to help immigrant survivors of domestic violence advocate for themselves and their families. 

    Research and Writing

    Selected Publications

    A Vision Forward: Policies Needed to Protect the Best Interest of “Category 4” Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, Principal Author, Justice for Immigrants Campaign, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops June 2021 is available here.

    A Civil Shame: The Failure to Protect Due Protect Due Process in Discretionary Immigration Bond Hearings is available here.

    Regulation of Non-Immigrant Birth Tourism – Safety Imperative or Political Pretext? CLE Paper for American Bar Association, Family Law Section, October 2020.

    USA Today, Op Ed, Immigration Detention at Otero, May 16, 2019

    Contributing Author, Delivering Justice:  Addressing Civil Legal Needs in the District of Columbia, D.C. Access to Justice Commission (2019) available at

    Bridging the Justice Gap in Family Law – Repurposing Federal IV-D Funding to Expand Community-Based Legal and Social Services for Parents, 67 Hastings Law Journal 1265 (2016) (co-authored with Lisa V. Martin)Bias in the Legal Profession, Learning from Practice: A Text for Legal Experiential Education (ed. Leah Wortham, Alexander Scherr, Nancy Maurer, Susan Brooks) (3rd ed.) (2016) (co-authored with Carmia Caesar)

    Paved with Good Intentions: Federal Proposals to Integrate Child Support and Parenting Time, 48 Indiana Law Review 803 (2015) (co-authored with Lisa V. Martin)

    Making Turner a Reality -- Improving Access to Justice Through Court-Annexed Resource Centers and Same Day Representation, 20 Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 17 (2014-2015)

    "Child Support – Shifting the Financial Burden in Low-Income Families," 20 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 1, (2012) 

    The District of Columbia Practice Manual, Child Support Chapter, (edited revised edition) (2011)

    "Bias in the Legal Profession, Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs" (ed. J.P. Ogilvy, Leah Wortham, Lisa G. Lerman) (2nd ed. 2007)

    "Cross Cultural Communication, The Impact of Domestic Violence on Your Legal Practice," (ed. Margaret B. Drew, Lisa C. Jordan, Donna J. Mathews, and Robin R. Runge) American Bar Association, (2nd ed. 2004)  

    "More Than a Witness: The Role of Custodial Parents in the IV-D Child Support Process," 26 Children's Legal Rights Journal 37 (Winter 2006)

    "The Intersection Between Welfare Reform and Child Support Enforcement: DC's Weak Link," 52 Catholic University Law Review 621 (2003).

    "Legal Services Provision Through Non-Profit Multidisciplinary Practice: Encouraging Holistic Advocacy while Protecting Ethical Interests," 73 University of Colorado Law Review 787 (2002).

    "Legal Responses to Teen Dating Violence," 29 Family Law Quarterly 331 (1995).   

    Selected Presentations

    Prospects for Integration: Opportunities and Challenges for Unaccompanied Migrant Youth in the U.S., Center for Flight & Migration, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Eichstätt, Germany, December 2022.

    Webinar: A Vision Forward: Policies Needed to Protect the Best Interest of “Category 4” Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, July 21, 2021, Justice for Immigrants Campaign, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Regulation of Birth Tourism and Birthright Citizenship, October 23, 2020, American Bar Association, Family Law Annual CLE Conference.

    Migration Studies Summer Academy 2020 highlighting developments in international research on migration, July 15, 2020.

    Addressing Immigration Law Issues Arising in Family Mediation, Training for Multidoor Dispute Resolution Mediators, D.C. Superior Court, May 15, 2019

    "Countering Implicit Bias in Law Practice”, D.C. School of Law Externship Program, March 23, 2017.

    “Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession,” Washington Council of Lawyers, Racial Justice Series, George Washington University, November 3, 2016, Washington D.C.  

    “Examining Experiments and Prospects for Reform in Family Law Self- Help Representation and Financial Support Policy,” Advancing Equal Access to Justice Conference, University of California Hastings College of Law and Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, November 2015

     “The Child Support Program – New and Improved, But Has Anybody Noticed?”  National Child Support Enforcement Association Policy Forum, February 8, 2014, Washington, D.C.   
    “Educating Lawyers for Social Justice:  The Role of the University-Based Legal Clinic,” Global Alliance for Justice Education Conference, December 7, 2013, New Delhi, India  

    Panelist, Delicate Balancing Act: The Right Size Order and Medical Support for Low-Income Parents, National Child Support Enforcement Association Policy Forum, February 8, 2013, Washington, D.C.

    “Analyzing Access to Justice From the Hallways of the Courthouse” Society of American Law Teachers Conference -- Teaching Social Justice, Expanding Access to Justice: The Role of Legal Education & The Legal Profession, October 6, 2012, Baltimore, Maryland

    Moderator, “Strengthening the Link Between Child Support Enforcement and Employment Assistance”, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, June 2012

    “Teaching Multicultural Competence in a Clinical Setting”, LL.M Fellows Training Program, D.C. School of Law, April 14, 2011