Senior Legal Fellow
Michael Parsons is a Senior Legal Fellow at FairVote, a Program Affiliate Scholar at NYU School of Law, and the founder of Parsons Law.
As a scholar, Michael studies political representation and how the law shapes, supports, and subverts that concept, especially in the areas of federalism, the separation of powers, and the law of democracy. His scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in academic journals such as the California Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and his commentary has been published on the Harvard Law Review Blog, Election Law Blog, Take Care Blog, Democracy Docket, and in outlets like Mass. Lawyers Weekly, City & State New York, and The Hill. His work has been cited in multiple federal court opinions and his proposals have been incorporated into legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
As a practitioner, Michael advises nonprofit organizations, government officials, and candidates regarding voting rights and election law. He has also represented merits parties and amici in major constitutional cases implicating the law of democracy and the separation of powers, including Rucho v. Common Cause (partisan gerrymandering), Blumenthal v. Trump (emoluments), and Patchak v. Zinke (separation of powers).
At FairVote, Michael provides policy guidance, strategic legal advice, and in-depth analysis of developments in state and federal legislation, election litigation, judicial doctrines, enforcement practices, and emerging scholarship. Michael also represents FairVote in collaborating with other voting-rights and election-reform partners dedicated to the pursuit of a more functional and representative democracy.
Previously, Michael served as the Associate Director of Lawyering (2020-2021) and as an Acting Assistant Professor (2018-2021) at NYU School of Law, where he was awarded the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award. Prior to teaching at NYU, Michael practiced political, appellate, and antitrust law at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he served as the principal author of briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. He clerked for the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the Honorable Robert E. Payne of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Michael received his JD, magna cum laude, from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his AB, cum laude, from Davidson College.