Michael J. Yelnosky

Photo of Michael J. Yelnosky
Michael J. YelnoskyDeanProfessor of Law

Contact Information

401-254-4607myelnosky@rwu.eduDean's SuiteSSRN Author PageCurriculum Vitae

Education

J.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.S., University of Vermont

Michael J. Yelnosky became the dean of Roger Williams University School of Law on July 1, 2014.

Dean Yelnosky is a founding member of the RWU Law faculty. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for four years, and he was named Distinguished Service Professor in 2011. He has also taught as a visitor at Seton Hall University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law/IIT, and Villanova University School of Law.

Dean Yelnosky is an expert in employment and labor law, and much of his scholarship explores alternatives or adjuncts to traditional enforcement of employment discrimination laws.  Another focus of his scholarship is judicial selection. He has written several articles and hosted a major symposium about Rhode Island’s merit selection system, and the major findings of his research into the role of the ABA in the federal judicial selection process were summarized in a Washington Post op-ed he wrote in 2013.  He is regularly quoted in the local and national media on these and other topics, and he has published several op-ed pieces in the Providence Journal.

Before becoming dean, Yelnosky regularly taught Civil Procedure, Employment Law, Labor Law, and Employment Discrimination.  He also collaborated with colleagues to teach Advanced Appellate Advocacy and with the Honorable William E. Smith, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, to teach Judicial Behavior and Social Change Litigation. Since becoming dean, he has directed the Judicial Clinical Externship Program, and he designed and teaches Introduction to the Study of Law for students in the Master of Studies in Law Program. 

In his previous administrative role as associate dean, Yelnosky was instrumental in leading the law school’s successful effort to gain membership in the Association of American Law Schools. He also designed and conducted annual studies of the scholarly output of the faculties of most American law schools, studies that documented the achievements of the faculty at Roger Williams and that garnered the attention of a national audience.

Dean Yelnosky graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and magna cum laude from the University of Vermont. Before he began teaching he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Edmund V. Ludwig in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and worked for two law firms: Mellon, Webster & Mellon; and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius.

Dean Yelnosky and his wife Laurie Barron are the parents of 17-year-old twins. Yelnosky has completed eight marathons, including Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

Books

3 NYU Selected Essays on Labor and Employment Law: Behavioral Analyses of Workplace Discrimination (Mitu Gulati & Michael J. Yelnosky eds. 2007)

2 NYU Selected Essays on Labor and Employment Law (David Sherwyn & Michael J. Yelnosky eds., 2003)

NYU Working Papers on Labor and Employment Law: 1998-1999 (Michael J. Yelnosky ed., 2001)

Using Mediation to Resolve Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Discrimination Charges, 1995 Wiley Employment Law Update 21

Articles

DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia and the Continued Ascendance of Federal Common Law: Class-Action Waivers and Mandatory Arbitration Under the Federal Arbitration Act, 22 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 287 (2017)

Harris v. Quinn: What We Talk About When We Talk About Right-To-Work Laws, 20 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 119 (2015)

Who Rates Prospective Federal Judges for the American Bar Association?, 19 Roger Williams U.L. Rev.  91 (2014)

Fully Federalizing the Federal Arbitration Act, 90 Or. L. Rev. 729 (2012)

The Impact of “Merit Selection” On the Characteristics of Rhode Island Judges, 15 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 649 (2010) (symposium on “Judicial Selection in Rhode Island”)

What Do Unions Do About Appearance Codes?, 14 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol’y 521 (2007) (symposium on “Makeup, Identity Performance, and Discrimination”)

Ten Years (or so) After Gilmer: Arbitration of Employment Law Claims under the Federal Arbitration Act and the Role of Rhode Island Law, 9 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 499 (2004) (10th Anniversary Edition) 

Mediation?, 53 NYU Ann. Conf. on Lab. 901 (2004)

The Prevention Justification for Affirmative Action, 64 Ohio St. L.J. 1385 (2003)

Title VII, Mediation, and Collective Action, 1999 U. Ill. L. Rev. 583       

What Does “Testing” Tell Us About the Incidence of Discrimination in Housing Markets?  29 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1488 (1999) (symposium on “Housing and Hope: An Agenda for Reform”)

The At-Will Rule and an Employer’s Duty to Investigate and Remedy Workplace Harassment: A Reasonable Regulatory Approach?, 51 NYU Ann. Conf. On Lab. 467 (1999)

Whither Weber?, 4 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 205 (1998) (symposium on Board of Education v. Taxman)

If You Write It, (S)He Will Come: Judicial Opinions, Metaphors, Baseball, and "The Sex Stuff", 28 Conn. L. Rev. 815 (1996)

Rhode Island's Judicial Nominating Commission: Can "Reform" Become Reality?, 1 Roger Williams U.L. Rev. 87 (1996)

Salvaging the Opportunity: A Response to Professor Clark, 28 U. Mich. J. L. Ref. 151 (1994)           

Filling An Enforcement Void: Using Testers to Uncover Discrimination In Hiring for Lower-Skilled, Entry-Level Jobs, 26 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 403 (1993)

Courses Taught

LAW.680Advanced Advocacy: Criminal Law

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Course Description

This is a skills-based course that will utilize the vehicle of an actual criminal trial transcript to learn the basics of persuasive writing and good oral advocacy. Instead of the soup-to-nuts approach of moot court, which covers every step in an appeal at a rather surface level, we will focus intensively on particular skills: issue-identification and framing, developing strategies for written and oral presentations, advanced research skills and analysis, partisan writing. Throughout the course, there will be opportunities to improve writing skills, to learn how to handle both helpful and harmful precedent, to structure oral arguments and field hard questions. Students should be prepared to critique their own writing and practice oral advocacy in class. Graded assignments will occur throughout the semester; there will be no final exam and no “big” paper. This course will help good researchers, writers and oralists become better, but even those whose skills are at a basic level will improve.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.819Employment Discrimination

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Course Description

An analysis of selected problems in the law of employment discrimination. Topics will be selected that address the historical, economic, and social dimensions and implications of the problem of employment discrimination. Included will be coverage of federal statutory prohibitions of discrimination in employment, the procedures for enforcement, standards of proof, and remedies for violation of applicable law.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.820Employment Law

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Course Description

This course will examine government regulation of the relationship of the individual employee and his or her employer. The propriety of regulating particular areas of the employment relationship and the efficacy of alternative regulatory schemes will be recurring themes. Areas of coverage may include employment at-will, wrongful termination, employment discrimination, regulation of compensation, workplace health and safety, unemployment compensation, and pensions.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

MSL.603Intro to the Study of Law

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Course Description

Introduction to the Study of Law

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Core Course

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Master of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Michael J. Yelnosky

LAW.822Labor Law

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Course Description

This course surveys the federal regulation of the union-management relationship in the private sector. The principle focus of the course is the National Labor Relations Act. The course will examine the establishment of the collective bargaining relationship, the negotiation of the collective agreement, unfair labor practice proceedings, economic pressure tactics, the enforcement of the collective agreement, and the duty of fair representation.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LSM.856 (Honors Course)The Supreme Court and Labor Law

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HONORS COURSE

Course Description

This course, taught by Dean Michael Yelnosky, looks at the history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s uneasy relationship with organized labor.
HONORS COURSE

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

Faculty Associated

Michael J. Yelnosky

LSM.856Tommorow's Lawyers

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Course Description

Tomorrow’s Lawyers will focus on the future of law practice in the United States. Our primary focus will be the book of the same name authored by Richard Susskind, but we will also look at some materials published by the American Bar Association on the subject. We will look at the ways in which cost pressure, competition from non-lawyers, and technology are changing law practice and how young lawyers can prepare for those change

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Michael J. Yelnosky
Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.

Elective

After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.

Seminar

Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.

Clinics/Externships

Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.