Annie Lai

Clinical Professor of Law

Co-Associate Dean for Experiential Education
Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic

Annie Lai


Immigration law, civil rights, workers’ rights, clinical legal education


Professor Lai teaches, researches and practices at the intersection of immigrants’ rights, civil rights, immigrant workers’ rights, and criminal law and procedure. Her scholarship has appeared in journals such as the Boston College Law Review, Santa Clara Law Review and Denver Law Review. She is a frequent author of amicus briefs and a regular commentator on immigrants’ rights issues, including state and local immigration policy.

Professor Lai believes that law school clinics have a unique role to play in advancing individual and collective demands for dignity and equality by immigrants, communities of color and youth. She aims to help students develop the strategic vision, knowledge and practical skills necessary to be excellent advocates for these communities.

Prior to joining UCI in 2013, Professor Lai served as a Clinical Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. She also practiced as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, where she litigated cases concerning local policing, religious freedom, prisoners’ rights, and other issues, and with the Urban Justice Center Community Development Project in New York, representing immigrant workers on consumer, health and employment matters.

Professor Lai received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root Tilden Kern Public Interest Scholar. 

(Log in to view full course descriptions in the UCI Law Course Catalog)

  • April 30, 2023:
    “Pedagogical Tools for Client-Centered Lawyering in a Movement Context: Examples from Immigrant Rights Advocacy,” Concurrent Session Co-Presenter, 45th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, San Francisco, CA
  • April 28, 2023:
    “Teaching Healing Justice,” Concurrent Session Co-Presenter, 45th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, San Francisco, CA
  • July 14, 2022
    “Mapping Immigrant-Liberatory Policies at the Local Level,” Presenter–Virtual Session, Law and Society Annual Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal
  • May 18, 2021
    “Collaborative Litigation with Organizational Plaintiffs,” Virtual CLE Co-Presenter, International Refugee Assistance Project 
  • November 2, 2020:
    “Beyond ‘Cultural Competence’” Co-Presenter, American University Washington College of Law Clinical Faculty Workshop
  • July 21-22, 2020: 
    “Beyond ‘Cultural Competency,’” Discussion Group Facilitator, AALS/CLEA Virtual Clinical Conference
  • May 30, 2020:
    “Roundtable: Police Reform Litigation and Social Movements,” Participant, Law and Society Annual Meeting–Virtual Conference
  • April 27, 2020
    “COVID-19 Habeas Relief for Detained Immigrants,” CLE Co-Presenter, Public Law Center