Wilkins Receives Inaugural J. Clay Smith Award

Professor David Wilkins '80

Professor David Wilkins ’80

David Wilkins, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law and director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard LawSchool, was selected to receive the first-ever J. Clay Smith Award from Howard University School of Law.  A member of the Harvard Law School faculty since 1986, Wilkins specializes in studying the structures, norms, and practices of the legal profession, as well as legal ethics.

Wilkins was recognized by Howard University for his work on the status and development of black lawyers in the legal profession.  He received the award on Friday, October 23, at the Wiley Branton Conference at Howard, where he was also the keynote speaker.

A director of the Program on the Legal Profession since 1991, Wilkins is author of a number of publications, including “Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession” (with Andrew L. Kaufman, Carolina Academic Press, 2009) and “If You Can’t Join’em Beat’em!  The Rise and Fall of the Black Corporate Law Firm” (Stanford Law Review, 2008).

Wilkins is also a senior research fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a faculty associate of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.  His current scholarly projects on the profession include “After the JD,” a ten-year nationwide longitudinal study of lawyers’ careers, the Harvard Law School Career Study, a quantitative and qualitative examination of how corporations purchase legal services, and an empirical project on the development of “ethical infrastructure” in large law firms based on a series of focus groups with leading practitioners and regulators, an examination of the practice of “offshoring” legal work to India.