You are here: Camille A. Nelson, Dean of the Washington College of Law

Memorandum March 13, 2016

TO: American University Community
FROM: Scott A. Bass, Provost
SUBJECT: Camille A. Nelson, Dean of the Washington College of Law

After 21 years of dedicated service to the American University Washington College of Law, Dean Claudio Grossman will return to the law school faculty. An extensive national search has been conducted, and I am delighted to announce that Camille A. Nelson has been appointed as the next dean of the Washington College of Law.

Currently a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School, Nelson recently served a five-year term as Dean of Suffolk University Law School from 2010 - 2015. As dean, she led the creation of the law school's first strategic plan and achieved considerable successes in the areas of fundraising, grant writing, and program and partnership development.

A widely published scholar and sought-after speaker, Nelson's scholarship focuses on the intersection of critical race theory and cultural studies with particular emphasis on criminal law and procedure, health law, and comparative law. Camille Nelson holds a master of laws (LLM), from Columbia Law School, a juris doctor (JD), magna cum laude from University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and a bachelor of arts (honors) with high distinction, from University of Toronto.

Nelson served on the faculty at Saint Louis University School of Law for almost ten years, during which time she was named Law School Faculty Member of the Year and received the University Faculty Excellence Award. She also held appointments at Hofstra University Law School, Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, University of Hawaii, Université de Paris-Dauphine (France), and Columbia Law School. Before transitioning to academia, Nelson clerked for Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada and worked as a litigation associate at one of the largest law firms in Canada.

An innovator in legal education, Nelson is committed to preparing graduates for success in an evolving legal marketplace. Recognizing that technology is changing the way we work, she led the creation of the Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation along with a program concentration in legal technology and innovation-a first of its kind in the nation-in order to transform the way in which tomorrow's legal workforce is educated, practices law, and delivers legal services.

Her service toward the advancement of legal education and the legal profession is extensive. She currently serves on the Association of American Law Schools Nominating Committee and is an elected member of the American Law Institute. Most recently, she served on the Senator Warren and Senator Markey Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations; the Steering Committee of the American Association of Law Schools Deans Forum; as Co-Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section for the Law School Dean, and on the Boston Bar Association Board. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recognized her as a "Top Woman of Law" and she was named to the Power 100: Most Influential Black Lawyers in the U.S.

Nelson's record of forward thinking leadership, innovation, and inclusive vision of legal education will serve WCL well. Her ability to inspire and innovate led to her creation of the Accelerator-to-Practice Program, the Women's Leadership Academy, a Caribbean and Latin America Initiative, a Five Point Bar Success Program and the achievement of record fundraising successes. Search Committee Chair, Professor Robert Kogod Goldman, said she "possesses the requisite skills and vision to take full advantage of our historic strengths, our advantages and opportunities in Washington D.C., and our new campus. Camille is poised to successfully lead the law school forward in these challenging times for legal education and the profession."

Dean Designate Camille Nelson brings vitality, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas to one of the nation's most distinctive law schools. She has our full confidence in her ability to lead a dynamic faculty, staff, and student body to the next level of impact in legal education. The Washington College of Law is fortunate to attract such an experienced candidate ready to lead a law school whose very founders were women. It is only fitting that she is able to draw upon this rich tradition and institutional legacy.

Camille Nelson's appointment will begin on July 25, 2016. Please join me in welcoming her to AU.