David B. Wilkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

David Wilkins is the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Program on the Legal Profession and the Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry at Harvard Law School. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Harvard Law School's Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, and a Faculty Associate of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.


Wilkins is a Chicago native, and a graduate of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. His father, Julian Wilkins, headed one of the city's most prominent law firms: Wilkins, Wilkins & Wilkins.[1] Wilkins graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1977, and went on to earn his JD at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1980. While at the Law School, he served as the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.[2] After graduating, he clerked for Wilfred Feinberg, a United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Then, in the 1981-1982 term, he clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the United States Supreme Court. After clerking, he became an associate at the law firm of Nussbaum Owen & Webster in Washington, DC.[3] Wilkins is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

In 1986, Wilkins joined the faculty at Harvard Law School, earning tenure 6 years later, and he has recently been mentioned as a potential candidate to become dean of Harvard Law School.[4] His research focuses primarily on the legal profession, and he is the co-author (along with his Harvard Law School colleague Andrew Kaufman) of one of the leading casebooks in the field.[3] Wilkins, who instructed First Lady Michelle Obama[5] and is friends with President Barack Obama[6] was voted the top teacher in the Law School's Center for Ethics in 2005 by graduating seniors.[7] He has also been recognized for his engaging teaching:

"David Wilkins works to create a classroom environment that is both safe and comfortable; that allows students both to learn and know that their success is not a true measure of their worth."[citation needed]

"Considered an exciting teacher by his students and colleagues," Wilkins motivates students to "attend class, engage in legal thinking, feel comfortable in the classroom, and learn the formal rituals and procedures for the Court."[8]

Awards and distinctions[edit]


  1. ^ "David B. Wilkins is Chicago-Kent's Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor" (Press release). Chicago: Chicago-Kent College of Law. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  2. ^ "David Wilkins | Speaker Profile and Speaking Topics". The American Program Bureau. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Professor David Wilkins Faculty Director Harvard Law Program Legal Profession". Harvard Law School. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  4. ^ Groll, Elias J. (2009-06-03). "HLS Dean Search Narrows to Four | News | The Harvard Crimson". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  5. ^ "Profile of Michelle Obama - Michelle Obama Biography". About.com Women's Issues. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  6. ^ Kodama, Marie C. (2007-01-19). "Obama Left Mark on HLS | News | The Harvard Crimson". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  7. ^ "Ethics at Harvard Law School". Harvard University. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  8. ^ Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara (Fall 1999). "Inside the Classroom of Harvard Law School Professor David Wilkins". Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 25: 113–19. ISSN 1077-3711. 
  9. ^ Wilkins, David Brian. "David Brian Wilkins resume" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-02. 

External links[edit]