Marc Van Der Hout is a nationally recognized litigator known for taking and winning complex impact and individual immigration cases. He is the founder of Van Der Hout LLP, a full-service immigration law firm based in San Francisco, California, where he continues to practice. In honor of Marc’s legacy of groundbreaking litigation on behalf of noncitizens, Van Der Hout LLP is sponsoring an annual one-year fellowship hosted at NILA, starting in September 2024.

Marc Van Der Hout Litigation Fellowship

Throughout his career, Marc Van Der Hout has challenged draconian immigration policies through impact and individual litigation. He served as lead counsel in numerous successful class actions that provided a path to legal status for tens of thousands of noncitizens and their family members and has represented thousands of noncitizens in immigration court and at all levels of the federal court system. Among his peers, Marc is known for his innovative and resourceful legal representation, his kindness and mentorship, and a laugh that is contagious.

The Marc Van Der Hout Litigation Fellowship is designed to advance the development of fierce and creative litigators like Marc by engaging in impact, transparency, and accountability litigation at NILA. The Fellow will report to NILA’s executive director, who began her career as a litigation attorney at Van Der Hout LLP and has collaborated and co-counseled with the firm over the last twenty-five years, and also will receive mentorship from Marc. 

The position has been filled for Fall 2024-Summer 2025. Applicants are welcome to apply for the Fall 2025-Summer 2026 fellowship in October 2024.

Responsibilities include: 

  • Participating in a wide range of litigation to advance and protect immigrants’ rights, including transparency, civil rights, and damages cases
  • Researching and drafting pleadings, party and amicus briefs, and legal memoranda
  • Engaging in discovery and motion practice
  • Producing practice advisories and template pleadings for NILA members and others
  • Traveling, as required, for litigation, conferences, and client interaction

Additional possible duties include:

  • Presenting at continuing legal education programs
  • Conducting oral argument in federal court
  • Translation/interpretation


  • J.D. from a U.S. law school
  • Commitment to immigrants’ rights and social justice
  • Excellent analytic, research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  • 1-2 years of job experience or law school immigration clinic experience
  • Fluency in Spanish preferred, but not required.

This one-year position is salaried and includes fully paid health, dental, and vision insurance and four weeks of vacation. The position is based in Brookline, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Applicants must be located in the Boston area or able to relocate.

Application Process

Please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to and put “Marc Van Der Hout Litigation Fellowship” in the subject line. The position is filled. It will reopen in Fall 2024.

About Marc Van Der Hout

Marc Van Der Hout is the founder of Van Der Hout LLP, a firm recognized nationally for its litigation and advocacy on cutting-edge issues.

Marc is a graduate of the University of Michigan and proud Wolverine to this day. While in college he successfully represented himself in his first and only jury trial for “creating a contention” (for a sit-in), under a statute that was eventually declared unconstitutionally vague. 

He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate School of Law in 1977 and has made the Bay Area his home ever since.

The Law Offices of Marc Van Der Hout on 18th Street in San Francisco, circa 1980.

In 1980, following two years as a new attorney at a Model Cities funded immigration non-profit, Marc founded the Law Offices of Marc Van Der Hout. The firm later became Van Der Hout & Brigagliano and then Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale when Christine Brigagliano and Zachary Nightingale became his longtime law partners. 

The firm is now simply called Van Der Hout LLP, and presently has 12 attorneys and 35 total staff. Over the years, Marc has trained, mentored, and inspired many generations of law students, legal workers, and attorneys.

Early in his career, Marc taught immigration law at the UC College of the Law, San Francisco (then Hastings College of the Law), and the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law (then Boalt Hall). Throughout his career, Marc has been a leader and board member of several immigration and social justice organizations. He served on the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for over 35 years, was national president of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in 1985-86 and served on the board of the National Immigration Project of the NLG for almost 40 years. He also served on the board of the Impact Fund from its inception through its first 25 years. In addition, he is a past member of the American Bar Association’s Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law.

Marc has twice received the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s premier award for excellence in the field of immigration litigation and twice received the National Immigration Project’s award for outstanding immigration litigation. Among his many other awards, Marc received the Honorary Fellow Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation (now American Immigration Council) in 1999; was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003 as one of San Francisco’s top 25 attorneys; received a 2008 Attorney of the Year CLAY award from California Lawyer magazine for outstanding achievement in his field; received the Robert G. Sproul, Jr. Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Services in the Legal Field from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009 and has been named by Woodward/White’s Best Lawyers in America every year since 1993. His latest award was in late 2023 when he received a Lifetime Impact Award from the National Immigration Project.

Anyone who has litigated with or against Marc knows that he is a zealous and meticulous advocate who explores and discusses every possible strength and weakness in a case. One of Marc’s most notable achievements remains the lead role he played in the ABC v. Thornburgh litigation, a nationwide class action challenging government discrimination in the adjudication of asylum cases based on country of origin and which benefited over 500,000 Central American asylum seekers and spurred the creation and passage into law of both Temporary Protected Status and the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).

Marc, with his wife, Jody, daughter Jackie, step-son Christian, daughter-in-law Cathy, and granddaughters Anna and Molly.

Marc has made, and continues to make, a lasting impact on immigration and civil rights law and on countless grateful clients whose lives he has bettered. He is a friend, colleague, and mentor to countless people and a loving husband and father. 

Dellums v. Smith, 573 F. Supp. 1489 (N.D. Cal. 1983): Ordering appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate President Reagan’s alleged violation of the Neutrality Act in attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua (reversed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit).

Cunanan v. INS, 856 F.2d 1373 (9th Cir. 1988): Establishing due process right to cross-examine government hearsay declarants in deportation proceedings.

Am. Baptist Churches (ABC) v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 786 (N.D. Cal. 1991): National class action challenging denials of all Salvadoran and Guatemalan asylum cases on equal protection grounds and under the 1980 Refugee Act. Over 500,000 refugees are estimated to have benefited from the relief obtained from this lawsuit, including the re-adjudication of all class members’ denied asylum applications.

Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Anti-Discrimination League of B’nai B’rith, No. 93-6358-RAP (C.D. Cal filed Oct. 21, 1993): Successful challenge to ADL spying on political groups and providing information to city and state law enforcement entities.

Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Reno, 70 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 1995) (also known as the “LA8 Case”): Successful challenge on First Amendment and selective prosecution grounds to government’s attempt to deport Palestinian activists. The decision was subsequently reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court on jurisdictional grounds based on an immigration statute enacted 10 years after the challenged prosecutions. Reversed by the Supreme Court in Reno v. American–Arab Anti–Discrimination Committee, 525 U.S. 471, 474 (1999).

Magana-Pizano v. INS, 200 F.3d 603 (9th Cir. 1999): Upholding eligibility for relief under former INA § 212(c) notwithstanding government’s attempt to retroactively apply new bars to eligibility in 1997 immigration law. 

Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 167 F.3d 1228 (9th Cir. 1999), 236 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2001): Successful class action preventing the government from retroactively applying new bars to suspension of deportation relief under 1996 immigration law.

Bustamante v. Mukasey, 531 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2008): Establishing right to overcome doctrine of consular non-reviewability when constitutional right involved.

Aleman Gonzalez v. Barr, 955 F.3d 762 (9th Cir. 2020): Affirming district court’s order certifying class and granting preliminary injunction to class members seeking bond hearings due to prolonged detention. Reversed by Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez, 142 S. Ct. 2057 (2022).

Def. for Child. Int’l-Palestine v. Biden, No. 4:23-cv-05829-JSW (N.D. Cal. filed Nov. 13, 2023): District court action against President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Austin for their failure to prevent and complicity in Israel’s unfolding genocide against them, their families, and the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza.

The photos below reflect various iterations of Marc’s office over the last five decades, including several from a 2024 reunion of staff members with whom he has work since he founded the firm in 1980. 

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