Professor David C. Baluarte joined Washington and Lee as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law in 2013. Professor Baluarte teaches and writes about topics ranging from immigration, refugees and stateless persons, and transnational law with a specific focus on international human rights law and practice. Professor Baluarte is the Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, an experiential offering at W&L that enlists second and third year law students as the primary lawyers for non-citizens in their immigration matters. Professor Baluarte has a particular interest in asylum law and refugee protection, and students work on these cases as well as deportation defense more generally and applications for humanitarian visas. Professor Baluarte also teaches Transnational Law as part of the 1L curium at W&L.
Before coming to W&L, Professor Baluarte was a Practitioner-in-Residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) at American University Washington College of Law. In the IHRLC, Professor Baluarte represented a wide range of individual clients as well as organizations in human rights litigation before the Inter-American Human Rights System, suing member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) for human rights abuse. Professor Baluarte also supervised student representation of refugees seeking asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. During his time at American, Professor Baluarte also taught a seminar on Asylum and Refugee Law.
Professor Baluarte is an expert in the area of statelessness. He has acted as the lead researcher and project director for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on a variety of initiatives to identify and protect stateless persons in the United States and the Caribbean. Most notably, he performed a study of statelessness in the US that led to the publication of the UNHCR and Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) report Citizens of Nowhere, and he subsequently established a pilot law clinic to provide pro bono legal services to stateless persons in the US. Baluarte also directed a UNHCR funded project to establish a nationality rights clinic in The Bahamas, and acted as counsel on two cases decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Dominican Republic on the issue of nationality rights and statelessness. In 2017, Baluarte will travel to Argentina as a Fulbright Scholar to complete research on the protection of stateless persons in that region.
Before beginning his teaching career, Professor Baluarte served as a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and as a staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). Professor Baluarte earned his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Public Interest and Public Service (PIPS) Scholar, and his B.A. from Brown University.