Kirby Thomas West



The Pennsylvania Bar

Kirby Thomas West is an attorney at the Institute for Justice and the co-director of IJ’s National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse. She litigates cases protecting property rights, First Amendment rights, and educational choice. 

Kirby’s property rights practice focuses on civil forfeiture. She is currently the lead attorney in IJ’s class-action challenge to the unconstitutional vehicle forfeiture program in Wayne County, Michigan. She has testified about forfeiture abuse before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kirby has litigated educational choice cases in state and federal court, including the United States Supreme Court, where she was a member of the IJ team that won the landmark 2022 ruling in Carson v. Makin. She is currently the lead attorney in IJ’s case defending an educational choice program in Alaska.

Kirby’s First Amendment practice focuses primarily on First Amendment retaliation cases. She achieved a favorable settlement for clients in a retaliation case in Wisconsin, including serious reforms to the town’s code enforcement policies. She has an active First Amendment retaliation case in Michigan.

Kirby received her law degree with honors from Harvard Law School in 2015. While in law school, she served as Articles Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. She graduated, magna cum laude, from Bucknell University in 2012 with a BA in English and Political Science.

Before joining IJ, Kirby was a litigation associate at Baker Botts, LLP. She clerked for Judge Dennis Shedd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Kirby's Cases

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Kirby's Amicus Briefs

Kirby's News, Articles & Publications

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Kirby's Hearings