Michael Kagan

Co-Director of Immigration Clinic
Associate Professor of Law
Phone: 702-895-2675
B.A. cum laude, Northwestern University
J.D. cum laude, University of Michigan Law School

Michael Kagan spent ten years building legal aid programs for refugees throughout the Middle East and Asia and held previous teaching positions at Tel Aviv University and the American University in Cairo. At UNLV, Prof. Kagan co-directs the Immigration Clinic and teaches administrative law, professional responsibility, and immigration law.

Prof. Kagan has written several of the most widely cited articles in the fields of refugee and asylum law. His research on credibility assessment in asylum cases has been repeatedly relied on by federal appellate courts and, according to a 2012 commentary, has “guided most subsequent research and analysis on the topic.” His 2006 study of refugee status determination by the United Nations has been noted as the most frequently cited article in the history of the International Journal of Refugee Law.

Prof. Kagan is currently leading, along with UNLV’s Fatma Marouf (Law) and Rebecca Gill (Political Science), a major empirical study about how the federal courts adjudicate immigration appeals. He was named a 2013-2014 Bellow Scholar by the Association of American Law Schools in honor of the project.

Prof. Kagan has a longstanding interest in human rights in the Middle East, having lived in Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem and Dubai. He has written extensively about the Arab-Israeli conflict and about refugee policy in the region. His role in expanding refugee legal aid in the global south was profiled in Zachary Kaufman’s Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012).

Before coming to UNLV, Prof. Kagan helped to establish Asylum Access, a US-based organization that operates refugee rights programs on three continents, and was director of Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance in Egypt. He was also a lead drafter of the Nairobi Code, an international model code of ethics for legal aid in refugee cases. Prof. Kagan writes the blog RSDWatch.org, which monitors refugee status determination by the United Nations.

Areas of Expertise
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Refugee Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Professional Ethics
  • Evidence