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Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University

William Ortman writes about the legal and institutional design of criminal justice. His current scholarship focuses on plea bargaining, the practice that accounts for the vast majority of criminal convictions in American courts. Before joining Wayne Law, Ortman taught legal research and writing as a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School. From 2007 to 2013, he was a criminal defense lawyer and commercial litigator in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, he clerked for Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Ortman earned his law degree with highest honors from the University of Chicago Law School, and a bachelor of arts with highest honors from Swarthmore College.

Since joining the Wayne Law faculty in 2016, Ortman has taught criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, administrative law and a seminar on advanced topics in criminal law and procedure. He has been voted Professor of the Year by Wayne Law’s upper-level students three times, in 2018, 2019, 2020, and by its first-year student once, in 2021.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University