The lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (Lyp, PTPN22) is a critical negative regulator of T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signaling. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ptpn22 gene correlates with the incidence of various autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Since the disease-associated allele is a more potent inhibitor of TCR signaling, specific Lyp inhibitors may become valuable in treating autoimmunity. Using a structure-based approach, we synthesized a library of 34 compounds that inhibited Lyp with IC(50) values between 0.27 and 6.2 μM. A reporter assay was employed to screen for compounds that enhanced TCR signaling in cells, and several inhibitors displayed a dose-dependent, activating effect. Subsequent probing for Lyp's direct physiological targets by immunoblot analysis confirmed the ability of the compounds to inhibit Lyp in T cells. Selectivity profiling against closely related tyrosine phosphatases and in silico docking studies with the crystal structure of Lyp yielded valuable information for the design of Lyp-specific compounds.