Gwynne L. Skinner

Associate Professor of Law

Professor Gwynne Skinner directs the Human Rights and Immigration Clinic at Willamette, teaches the affiliated seminar, and teaches courses in Immigration, Refugee Law, and Human Rights. Prior to teaching law at Willamette, Professor Skinner was a civil rights and international human rights attorney in Seattle, a civil litigator with the national law firm of Dorsey and Whitney LLP, and a federal and state prosecutor, initially with the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program. She was also a visiting professor at Seattle University School of Law.

Professor Skinner has several years' experience litigating human rights cases under the Alien Tort Statute and civil rights claims, as well as appellate practice in these areas. She and the Clinic have represented former Guantanamo Bay detainees seeking civil remedies for unlawful detention, victims of human rights atrocities before the European Court of Human Rights, unaccompanied minors seeking relief under U.S. immigration law, and numerous individuals seeking asylum in the United States. She and the Clinic have also worked on several human rights fact-finding reports, including on the conditions of immigrant detention and on human trafficking. In the Spring of 2015, the law school’s student-run Public Interest Law Project awarded Professor Skinner the Raising the Bar Award for promoting public interest law and addressing access to justice issues.

Professor Skinner also serves as a U.S. expert for the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR). She has been the lead author on two reports: one on limited liability and parent corporations, and one on the Access to Judicial Remedy Project entitled The Third Pillar - Access to Judicial Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Business (with Prof. Olivier De Schutter and Prof. Robert McCorquodale), International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, found at: Professor Skinner is a member of the Oregon and Washington bars and is admitted to practice in the federal district courts of both states, as well as before the Ninth, Eighth, and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Skinner’s scholarly research and writing primarily focuses on legal issues related to human and civil rights litigation, and in particular, barriers to legal remedies.

SSRN Author Page


  • M.St. in International Human Rights Law (LL.M. equiv.), Oxford University, with distinction
  • J.D. University of Iowa, with high distinction
  • M.A. University of Iowa

Selected Publications

  • Rethinking Limited Liability of Parent Corporations for Foreign Subsidiaries’ Violations of International Human Rights Law, forthcoming, 72:4 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. (December 2015)
  • Beyond Kiobel: Providing Access to Judicial Remedies for Corporate Accountability for Violations of International Human Rights Norms by Transnational Corporations in a New (Post-Kiobel) World, 46 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 158 (Fall 2014)
  • Misunderstood, Misconstrued, and Now Clearly Dead: The ‘Political Question Doctrine’ as a Justiciability Doctrine, 29:3 J.L. & Pol. (Spring 2014)
  • Roadblocks to Remedies: Recently-Developed Barriers to Relief for Aliens Injured by U.S. Officials, Contrary to the Founders’ Intent, 47 U. Rich. L. Rev. 555 (Spring 2013)
  • The Nonjusticiability of Palestine: Human Rights Litigation and the (Mis)Application of the Political Question Doctrine, 35(1) Hastings Int. and Comp. L. Rev. 99 (Winter 2012)
  • When Customary International Law Violations Arise Under the Laws of the United States, 36 Brook. J. Int’l L. 205 (Fall 2010)
  • Customary International Law, Federal Common Law, and Federal Court Jurisdiction, 44 Val. U.L Law Review 825, (Summer 2010, symposium publication)
  • Federal Jurisdiction Over U.S. Citizens' Claims for Human Rights Violations, 37 Ga. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 53 (2008)
  • Nuremberg's Legacy Continues: The Nuremberg Trials' Influence on Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts under the Alien Tort Statute, 71 Alb. L. Rev. 321 (2008)
  • Intimate Association and the First Amendment, 3 Law and Sexuality 1 (1993)