Thomas Zander, Psy.D., J.D., ABPP

Adjunct Professor of Law


Dr. Zander graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1977, and was admitted to the practice of law in Wisconsin that year. He began his legal career with the State Public Defender's Office, providing appellate and other post-conviction representation. He went on to head the state's first specialized unit for providing defense representation to persons facing civil commitment based on allegations of mental illness. From 1981-1994, he was the executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Inc. Under his leadership, this public interest law firm grew from a staff of six lawyers to 24 -- allowing greater legal advocacy for abused and neglected children, and for adults with legal problems related to mental disability, homelessness, and HIV disease. During his career as a public interest lawyer, he represented thousands of low-income Milwaukeeans in trials, appeals, and major litigation. He successfully litigated two major class action lawsuits that resulted in landmark law reform: State ex rel. Watts v. CCSB, 122 Wis.2d 65, 362 N.W.2d 104 (1985), in which the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted his argument that persons placed by courts in nursing homes are constitutionally entitled to an annual court review of their need for continued placement; and State ex rel. Jones v. Gerhardstein, 141 Wis.2d 710, 416 N.W.2d 883(1987), in which the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted his argument that involuntarily committed individuals are constitutionally entitled to exercise informed consent before being administered psychotropic drugs.

Dr. Zander holds a doctorate in psychology (Psy.D.). He is licensed as a psychologist in Wisconsin and Florida. He is board-certified as a forensic psychologist by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.