Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 12

FEATURE

Deans Camille Nelson, Danielle Holley-Walker
& Renée McDonald Hutchins

SHAPING THE FUTURE OF D.C.'S LAW SCHOOLS

By Jeffery Leon

A

t a time when the legal profession is going
through transformative change, the pressure is
on for law schools to respond to new disruptions
and reinvent themselves to produce practice-ready
graduates. And for law school deans, the job of making
their institutions more resilient and attuned to the needs
of future lawyers means taking on many roles.

"On any given day, a dean is a situational leader, a thought leader, a
visionary, a grief counselor, a pastoral leader. A dean is a leader for change, a
servant leader . . . It's what the situation and the future demand," says Dean
Camille Nelson of American University Washington College of Law (WCL).
In recent years, the legal profession has witnessed a steady number of
women lawyers rise to law school deanships, accounting for 35 percent of
deans as of 2019, according to the Association of American Law Schools.
Three of the six law schools in the District of Columbia are helmed by
women, tasked with securing their schools' presence in a rapidly
changing legal landscape.

TRAINING FUTURE CHANGEMAKERS
Nelson joined WCL in 2016 after serving as dean of Suffolk University Law
School in Boston, the first woman and first person of color to serve in that
position. She also holds the distinction of being the first black woman to
clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada. Nelson continued to break barriers
at WCL, becoming the first black person ever to be appointed dean in the
law school's 124-year history.
At WCL, Nelson initially focused her efforts on overseeing the law school's
re-accreditation and, joining the school at a time of self-reflection, conducting a comprehensive self-study to assess its strengths, weaknesses,
and opportunities. Now entering her fourth year at WCL, Nelson believes
the school has rounded a corner and is even better prepared to take on
new challenges and innovate into the future.
"We had a great foundation, and I think we're structurally even more
sound than we were before," says Nelson. "Now it's about cohering
around the additional areas in which we can innovate and lead."
Under Nelson's leadership, WCL is putting a stronger focus on tech law
and cybersecurity, particularly around the areas of artificial intelligence
and machine learning, the offshoring of work, digitization, privacy, surveillance, and social networks. "I would rather lawyers be a part of conversations that involve technological evolution of the practice of law, and
our society, than nonlawyers evolving the law without us leading and
charting the path," Nelson says.

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

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MARCH/APRIL 2020

WCL is also paying close attention to law and its interaction and support
of government and governance. Nelson points to 2016 as an inflection
point for the profession and for the students she's encountered since
then who are passionate about effecting meaningful change.
"They're coming in with intentionality, with determination and passion,
especially post-2016, about what a law degree can do for them, for society,
and for the rule of law," Nelson says. "It makes for engaged, interesting
students who will go on to do powerful things with their law degrees."
"They're the most diverse, most educated, most progressive generation
. . . they have a sense of urgency about how we should move forward,
and they understand what's at stake," Nelson continues. "I think part
of our job is to give them the tools and support they need toward
[achieving] their personal and professional goals, and then get out of
their way."
Nelson emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusion, and empowerment at WCL, pushing to provide a positive, welcoming, and understanding space for all.

''

"For women and people of color, you may experience things over the
course of your lives that hopefully make you care deeply about injustice
and equality, and make you emphatic about inclusion and uplift," she

It is my job, just like it was the job of those leaders
of color and women who came before me, to try
to keep these doors open and prepare the next
generation of leaders to lead.
DEAN CAMILLE NELSON
American University Washington College of Law

says. "It is my job, just like it was the job of those leaders of color and
women who came before me, to try to keep these doors open and
prepare the next generation of leaders to lead. It's a failure if I'm the first
and last woman of color who is dean of this law school."

CLOSING THE GAP
At Howard University School of Law, Dean Danielle Holley-Walker not only
wants to build on its legacy as the oldest historically black law school in
the country, but also to produce high-quality attorneys of color ready to
serve in all roles and capacities, and hopefully to help address gaps in the
legal field.
"People have thought of us more as a legacy law school, and I want to
make sure everyone knows what we're doing right now and what the



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
Women of Impact feature
The Race to End Roe feature
Solar Power Access Feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
Global & Domestic Outlook
Member Spotlight – Joesphine Wang
Member Spotlight - Fatemah Albader
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Pro Bono Effect
Portraits of Suffrage's Overlooked Heroes
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Women of Impact feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 12
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 18
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - The Race to End Roe feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Solar Power Access Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Member Spotlight – Joesphine Wang
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Member Spotlight - Fatemah Albader
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 44
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Portraits of Suffrage's Overlooked Heroes
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover4
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