Michael G. Collins

  • Joseph M. Hartfield Professor of Law
  • Joseph W. Dorn Research Professor of Law

Michael Collins teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Conflict of Laws and Evidence. Before coming to UVA, where he is currently the Joseph M. Hartfield Professor of Law, Collins taught at Tulane Law School, where he was the Robert A. Ainsworth Professor of Law.

Prior to attending law school, Collins earned a graduate degree in classical languages and literature and an undergraduate degree in history and classics. After law school, he practiced commercial and employment law in Los Angeles, practiced civil rights law in New Orleans, and was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He has also been a visiting professor at Boston University, George Washington, Ohio State and Richmond. While at Tulane, he was a three-time recipient of the law school's distinguished teaching award. And in 2013, he was a recipient of the University of Virginia's All-University Teaching Award.

Collins’ research interests lie in the areas of federal courts, procedure and legal history. His recently published works include the casebook Transnational Civil Litigation (with Joachim Zekoll and George Rutherglen), an article on the obligation of state courts to entertain sister-state claims (with Ann Woolhandler) and an article titled "Reconstructing Murdock v. Memphis." His writings have appeared in the California, Columbia, Emory, Georgetown and Virginia law reviews. He has also co-authored casebooks on federal jurisdiction and on first-year civil procedure, and he has published a handbook on constitutional tort litigation.


  • J.D.
    Harvard Law School
  • M.A.
    Stanford University
  • B.A.
    Pomona College

Books and Book Chapters:

“Overcoming Sovereign Immunity: Causes of Action for Enforcing the Constitution” (with Ann Woolhandler), in Karen Orren & John W. Compton, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the U.S. Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Section 1983 Litigation in a Nutshell (West Academic, 5th ed. 2016).

The Law of Civil Procedure—Cases and Materials (with Joel Friedman) (Thomson/West, 2001; 5th ed. 2016).

Transnational Civil Litigation (with Joachim Zekoll and George A. Rutherglen) (West, 2013).

“The Story of Tarble's Case: State Habeas and Federal Detention” (with Ann Woolhandler), in Vicki C. Jackson & Judith Resnick, eds., Federal Courts' Stories 141 (Foundation Press, 2010).

Federal Courts—Theory and Practice (with R. Clinton & R. Matasar) (Little, Brown & Co., 1996).

Articles and Essays:

“Was Bivens Necessary?” (with Ann Woolhandler), 96 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1893 (forthcoming 2021).

“The Certificate of Division and the Early Supreme Court” (with Jonathan Remy Nash), 94 S. Cal. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2021).

“Inmate Constitutional Claims and the Scienter Requirement” (with Ann Woolhandler), 98 Wash. U. L. Rev. 645 (2020).

“State Jurisdictional Independence and Federal Supremacy” (with Ann Woolhandler), 72 Fla. L. Rev. 73 (2020).

“Reining-In State Standing” (with Ann Woolhandler), 94 Notre Dame L. Rev. 2015 (2019).

“Judicial Federalism under Marshall and Taney” (with Ann Woolhandler), 2017 Sup. Ct. Rev. 337 (2018).

“Jurisdictional Discrimination and Full Faith and Credit”(with Ann Woolhandler), 63 Emory L.J. 1023 (2014).

“Reconstructing Murdock v. Memphis,” 98 Va. L. Rev. 1439 (2012).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF) 

“Prosecuting Federal Crimes in State Courts” (with Jonathan Remy Nash), 97 Va. L. Rev.243 (2011)
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Federal Question Jurisdiction and Justice Holmes”(with Ann Woolhandler), 84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 2151 (2009).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"M‘Culloch and the Turned Comma," 12 Green Bag 2d 265 (2009).

"Jurisdictional Exceptionalism," 93 Va. L. Rev. 1829 (2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Justice Iredell, Choice of Law, and the Constitution: A Neglected Encounter,” 23 Const. Comment. 163 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Federal Courts, the First Congress, and the Non-Settlement of 1789," 91 Va. L. Rev.1515 (2005).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Symposium: Judicial Independence and the Scope of Article IIIA View from The Federalist," 38 U. Rich. L. Rev. 675 (2004).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Diversity Theory of the Alien Tort Statute," 45 Va. J. Int'l L. 649 (2002). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"October Term, 1896Embracing Due Process," 45 Am. J. Legal Hist. 71 (2001).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Article III Jury" (with A. Woolhandler), 87 Va. L. Rev. 587 (2001). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Before LochnerDiversity Jurisdiction and the Development of General Constitutional Law," 74 Tul. L. Rev. 1263 (2000). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Judicial Federalism and the Administrative States," 87 Cal. L. Rev. 613 (1999).
SSRN Abstract | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Justice Bradley's Civil Rights Odyssey Revisited," 70 Tul. L. Rev. 1979 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Article III Cases, State Court Duties, and the Madisonian Compromise," 1995 Wis. L. Rev. 39 (1995). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"State Standing" (with A. Woolhandler), 81 Va. L. Rev. 387 (1994). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Whose Federalism?", 9 Const. Comment. 75 (1992).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Symposium: 'Economic Rights,' Implied Constitutional Actions, and the Scope of Sect. 1983," 77 Geo. L.J. 1493 (1989). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Conspiracy Theory of the Eleventh Amendment," 88 Colum. L. Rev. 212 (1988).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Right to Avoid Trial: Justifying Federal Court Intervention into Ongoing State Court Proceedings," 66 N.C. L. Rev. 49 (1987). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Unhappy History of Federal Question Removal," 71 Iowa L. Rev. 717 (1986).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Current Courses

All Courses

Federal Courts
Civil Procedure
Civil Rights Litigation
Conflict of Laws
Slavery and the Constitution
Transnational Litigation

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