Legomsky appointed chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Stephen H. Legomsky, JD, DPhil, the John S. Lehmann University Professor at the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, has been appointed chief counsel for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), effective Oct. 24, 2011, announced Ivan Fong, general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Legomsky is an authority on U.S., comparative and international immigration, refugee and citizenship law and policy. He will be taking a leave of absence from the law school to assume this position effective Oct. 24 and moving to Washington, D.C., shortly before that.

USCIS is part of the DHS. It is the successor agency to the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), but shorn of its law enforcement operations, which now reside elsewhere in the department.

As chief counsel, Legomsky will manage a staff of 160 attorneys, advise the director of the agency on legal and policy issues, and serve as a member of the DHS and USCIS leadership teams.


“Steve Legomsky is among the most influential and insightful immigration and citizenship law scholars in the world,” says Kent D. Syverud, JD, dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University.

“He also is a dedicated teacher who cares about people and about getting things done right. I can’t imagine a better choice for this vital public service position.”

A member of the American Law Institute, Legomsky founded and chaired the Immigration Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools.

He also has testified before Congress on several occasions and has served as a consultant on immigration and refugee policies to the transition teams of Presidents Clinton and Obama, to the first President Bush’s Commissioner of Immigration, to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and to several foreign governments.

His coursebook, Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy, has been the required text at 175 law schools since its inception.

Among Legomsky’s many accolades are the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s annual teaching award, given to one immigration law professor in the United States, and Washington University’s Arthur Holly Compton Award, given annually to one university faculty member for career accomplishments.

Legomsky also has been appointed to visiting positions at Oxford University, Cambridge University and other universities in the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Australia, Suriname, Singapore and Israel.

He is the founding director of the law school’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, a past chair of the university’s Judicial Board and a past member of the University City Board of Education.

Legomsky earned a DPhil from the University of Oxford; a JD from the University of San Diego (Day Division), where he graduated first in his class and was notes and comments editor of the San Diego Law Review; and a BS in mathematics from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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