Ilene Durst
Ilene Durst
Associate Professor of Law
Academics Legal Writing ll Director
M.F.A., University of California, Irvine;
J.D., New York Law School, summa cum laude;
B.A., State University of New York at Albany, magna cum laude
Phone: (619) 961-4229

Professor Durst’s scholarly interests focus on language and narrative theory, with particular application to appellate advocacy, immigration law and the literary representation of the legal culture. She joined the TJSL faculty in 1994, after extensive litigation and immigration law experience with law firms and public service organizations in New York, a judicial clerkship with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, State of New York, and adjunct teaching at New York Law School and University of California, Irvine.


Courses include:
Legal Writing I and II, Immigration Law, Refugee and Asylum Law, Law and Literature.



Re-envisioning the Reach of Persecution: Recognizing Refugee Status for the Family Bystander Witness, 34 Whittier L. Rev. 1 (2012)

Remedies for Non-Citizen Victims of Domestic Abuse, 32 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 87 (2009)

Immigration Law and Policy, in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, Social Sciences and Humanities: Law, § 6.31 (UNESCO-Eolss, 2002) (published online,

The Lawyer’s Image, The Writer’s Imagination: Professionalism and the Storyteller’s Art in Nadine Gordimer’s The House Gun, 13 Cardozo Stud. L. & Literature 299 (2001) 

Lost in Translation: Why Due Process Demands Deference to the Refugee’s Narrative, 53 Rutgers L. Rev. 127 (2000)

Valuing Women Storytellers: What They Talk About When They Talk About Law, 11 Yale J.L. & Feminism 245 (1999)

The Rights of Undocumented Aliens: Balancing Equal Protection and Federalism, 28 N.Y.L.S. L. REV. 431 (1983); reprinted in BNA Specialty Law Digest: Education, January 1985


Moderator, Panel on War, War Crimes, Refugees and Asylees, Symposium: Encountering Stereotypes, University of La Verne College of Law, Feb. 20, 2010

Legacies of Guilt: Law's Inability To Account for the Bystander-Witness to Persecution, School of Law, Swansea University, Wales, and Law and Humanities Institute, Rights, Ethics, Law and Literature International Colloquium, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK, July 5-8, 2007

Bearing False Witness: Genocide and Narrative [Un]Reliability, Law and Humanities' Representation of the Holocaust, Genocide and other Human Rights Violations, San Diego, CA, Jan. 2005


  • October 23, 2014
    After deciding to pursue a career in wealth management as a financial consultant, Alumna Nicole Heffel ‘13 reassessed her path after...
  • December 9, 2013
    On Friday, December 6 Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the Legal Writing Institute co-hosted Preparing Practice-Ready Students, a one-day...
  • Adoptions
    May 1, 2012
    By Amy Buchanan 2L On Monday, April 23, the TJSL Family Law Society hosted “Domestic and International Adoptions and the Role of the Attorney...


Civil & Human Rights

  • International Human Rights

Civil Procedure & Litigation

  • Appellate Practice

Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Law

International Law

  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • International Human Rights

Legal Education

Legal Writing

Literature and the Law

U.S. Foreign Policy