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Friday, April 17, 2020
New Dean for UH Law School -- Focus on 'Critical Race Theory'
By News Release @ 3:29 PM :: 3477 Views :: Higher Education

Camille Nelson

Camille Nelson

New dean for UH William S. Richardson School of Law

From UH News April 16, 2020

Camille Nelson will be the next dean of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law. Nelson’s appointment was approved today by the UH Board of Regents and is effective August 1, 2020.

Nelson is currently Dean of the American University Washington College of Law. She previously served as Dean of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where an annual diversity award is named in her honor for her leadership in diversity and inclusion.

“This is an incredible opportunity and I’m beyond excited as my family and I have had a long relationship with Hawaiʻi and UH.” said Nelson. “I’m very much looking forward to working with the law school faculty, students and support staff to continue to build on the amazing foundation and legacy of the Richardson School of Law. I have always been greatly impressed by the Richardson law students who I have been fortunate to teach over the years.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dean Nelson to our UH ʻohana,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Her experience and vision will be essential to the expansion of the impact of the Law School here in Hawaiʻi and beyond. I look forward to Camille joining the Mānoa leadership team.”

Nelson succeeds Avi Soifer who served as the dean for 17 years and will continue teaching at the law school.

“We have landed a terrific person as our dean, as well as an experienced, wise, and inspiring administrator,” said Soifer. “Thank you to the search committee, UH leadership and to everyone who participated in the search process.”

Nelson’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of critical race theory and cultural studies, with emphasis on health law, criminal law and procedure, and comparative law. Nelson has published articles, chapters, and essays that have appeared in numerous prestigious publications, and she is a co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

Nelson was named among the Top 35 Women in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine, and was listed as one of the “Most Influential People in Legal Education” by the National Jurist.

Her professional service engagements include numerous legal education boards and committees, including the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations.

Nelson holds a law degree awarded magna cum laude from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and an LLM from Columbia Law School, where she also received the Paul Robeson Distinguished Alumni Award from the Black Law Students Association in 2017.

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Camille Nelson Steps Down as Dean of AU Washington College of Law

News Release from AU WCL, April 17, 2020

American University Provost Daniel J. Myers announced today that Camille Nelson will step down as Dean of Washington College of Law as of July 31, 2020. Nelson has been appointed Dean of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law, effective at the commencement of the 2020-21 academic year.

“Camille has been an outstanding partner and friend, not just to me but to our entire community,” said Provost Myers. “Her passionate advocacy on behalf of our students and our faculty is a hallmark of great academic leadership. Camille’s dedication and vision produced an incredible legacy and we are going to build on her progress as WCL enters the next era of educating pioneering legal practitioners and changemakers who use the law to serve our world. While we will miss Camille, we are grateful for all her contributions, and we wish her the best in her new endeavor!”

During Dean Nelson’s tenure, the law school launched and built upon several successful programs, including Health Law and Policy (now ranked 11th in the nation); building on initiatives launched by the Law and Government Program; Tech, Law and Security; Business Law Bootcamp; and the Master of Legal Studies. To provide students with quality bar passage support, Dean Nelson established the Office of Academic Excellence. As a result, the law school is celebrating its highest pass rate for first-time takers in more than five years on the July 2019 exam (nearly 80% pass rate). In 2018, she launched the Office of Online Education to expand existing online programming, to position AUWCL for the growth in online learning opportunities, and to support the training of faculty and administrators in the use of online teaching tools. Dean Nelson also introduced the AUWCL Compass Program for incoming first-year students. This signature initiative offers students an opportunity to learn critical interpersonal and professional skills at a time when demand for these proficiencies is higher than ever. In an effort to better communicate with all of the law school’s constituencies, Dean Nelson oversaw the completion of a website redesign and re-launch of the alumni magazine The Advocate. Dean Nelson has furthered the law school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through the creation of the position of Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Affinity Relations and has supported the importance of diversity, inclusion, and empowerment of students and staff.

Thanks to these efforts and the dedication of AUWCL’s faculty, staff, and alumni, AUWCL moved up 10 places in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings over the past three years with the law school currently ranked 76th overall. For the first time, AUWCL also saw three specialty programs ranked in the top five in the 2021 U.S. News Specialty Rankings – Clinical Program #2, International Law #4, and Trial Advocacy #4.

Dean Nelson personally thanked the WCL community for its unwavering commitment to the success of the law school. “Over the past four years, WCL has done important work to build upon the strong foundation laid by previous administrations,” she said. “We have focused on an elevated and supportive sense of community, inclusion, professionalism, and engagement to acknowledge and celebrate the excellence of WCL. It has been an honor to serve as your dean.”

Further details about the interim dean appointment and search process for a permanent dean are forthcoming. Dean Nelson will remain as Dean at AUWCL through July to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

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IM: William S. Richardson School of Law Selects Camille A. Nelson as New Dean

Meet the Team: UH: Ken Lawson Admits his “Innocence Project” Brought Alleged Pimp to Hawaii


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