Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education
Director, Immigration Clinic
J.D. 1994, Harvard Law School
M.Phil. 1991, University of Cambridge
B.A.1990, Swarthmore College
Professor Sharpless joined the faculty in the fall of 2009 directs the Immigration Clinic. From 1996 to 2007, she was a Supervising Attorney at Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC), where she engaged in extensive litigation on behalf of low-income immigrants as lead counsel in cases before the United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts as well as immigration court.
Professor Sharpless was the primary author of an amicus brief to the United States Supreme court in the seminal case INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001). She has received awards and recognition for her work.
Professor Sharpless writes and speaks widely on immigration law and participates in events such as the annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and seminars of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. She has also been a presenter at national and local trainings and conferences, including trainings of judges, law clerks, and advocates.
Professor Sharpless organizes continuing legal education seminars on immigration topics such as asylum, unaccompanied immigrant children, and the immigration consequences of crimes. She provides trainings and advice on immigration law to public defenders throughout Florida. Ms. Sharpless has testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is a longstanding board member of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
She is the author many publications including The State of the Categorical Approach to Criminal Convictions, co-author with Maria Andrade, Andres Benach, and Deborah Smith, Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook, (2009-2010), The Duty to Advise of Immigration Consequences: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, Florida Defender, (Fall 2010), and Chaidez v. US: An Old Rule in a First Federal Proceeding, Online Symposium, Nov. 5, 2012.
Immediately before joining the School of Law's faculty, Professor Sharpless was a Visiting Clinical Professor of Law at Florida International University's College of Law, where she taught in-house clinics in the areas of immigration and human rights. She also taught a doctrinal course on immigration law.