David Wilkins named to ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Education

David Wilkins

Harvard Law School Professor David Wilkins. Credit: Kathleen Dooher

David Wilkins ’80, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has been named to the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Education, the ABA has announced.

The Commission was created in February to anticipate changes in the legal profession and how they might affect the training of future generations of law students. Redesigning legal education is a priority for Hilarie Bass, the American Bar Association’s new president.

Wilkins is one of 10 members appointed to the Commission. At Harvard Law School, he is director of the Center on the Legal Profession and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession.

“As an internationally renowned expert on the legal profession and legal education, David Wilkins is uniquely qualified to serve on this important commission,” said John Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor at Harvard Law School. “I will eagerly follow his work on the topic, as the ABA, law schools, and leaders of the profession tackle the critical question of how best to train and educate our future lawyers.”

The commission’s chair is Patricia White, dean and professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law. The commission’s other members are: David Faigman, the chancellor and dean of University of California Hastings College of Law; Horacio E. Gutierrez LL.M. ’91, Spotify general counsel; Gillian Hadfield, director of the University of Southern California Center for Law and Social Science and a professor of law and economics there; Deborah Jones Merritt, an Ohio State University law professor; Blake D. Morant, the dean of George Washington University School of Law; Andrew D. Hurwitz, a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; David Stern, executive director of Equal Justice Works; and Richard Susskind, a United Kingdom author whose written multiple books about implementing technology with legal services delivery.

“The creation of the commission is an important step forward in recognizing the ABA’s critical role in speaking out on behalf of the legal profession in connection with the future of legal education,” Bass said.

In a joint statement, Bass and Maureen O’Rourke, the new chair of the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, said that they “look forward to working together to ensure that legal education in this country provides the best possible preparation for the nation’s future lawyers.” O’Rourke is the dean of Boston University School of Law.

According to their statement, the 10-member commission will seek to bring the perspectives of various constituencies to the table, including judges, deans, professors and practitioners. The commission will focus specifically the bar exam, alternative teaching methods, and length of law school, among other issues.