Changing technology, economic uncertainty and ever-increasing globalization are requiring us to rethink how law will be practiced in the future.
One of my favorite events is our annual Dean’s Dinner, which provides a wonderful opportunity for members of Minnesota’s legal community -- including many distinguished Hamline Law alumni -- to gather together to share an excellent meal and hear a thoughtful presentation from a nationally prominent guest in an especially suitable venue.
Two years ago, our guest speaker was Donald Fehr, long-time executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association who now holds that position for the National Hockey League Players Association (while NHL players are being locked-out by NHL owners). Don joined us at Target Field in Minneapolis just after the Twins completed their first year in their spectacular new downtown ballpark. Last year, Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times joined us at the beautiful Landmark Center in Saint Paul. It was the ideal setting for the dinner because the massive historic building, which housed Minnesota’s federal courts for decades, perfectly complemented our theme, The Power of the Law.
This year, I am delighted that our keynote speaker will be David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. I invited Professor Wilkins to join us because of his unique perspective on the tremendous changes facing the practice of law. He teaches and writes extensively on private practice, and his work focuses on empirical studies of the legal profession designed to expand and deepen the overall understanding of lawyers and their careers. As the faculty director of Harvard’s Program on the Legal Profession, Professor Wilkins teaches the lead four-credit course on the legal profession, as well as seminars on the Legal Education for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on Preparing Lawyers for Global Careers, Cause Lawyers, and The Future(s) of the Large Law Firm. His topic for the Dean’s Dinner will be Rethinking Law Practice (in an age of economic, technological, and global uncertainty). And, as we contemplate the future, it is entirely fitting that this year’s event will be held on the Hamline University campus in our gleaming new Anderson Center, which opened just this August.
The future is very much on our minds here at Hamline. The entire institution is focused on educating lawyers to compete in a legal employment marketplace that is changing by the minute, making it more and more challenging to navigate. Our approach is to integrate skills training, work experience, and career services throughout every facet of our curriculum and to innovate the delivery of legal education. This approach has gained traction with our students and from employers and is one of the reasons why we were recently named one of the nation’s most innovative law schools by preLaw magazine. But we are well aware that we still have much work to do. As the legal community and the academy rethink law practice, we must continue to rethink legal education.
Donald M. LewisDean and Professor of Law
Donald M. Lewis
Dean and Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Acting Assistant Dean for
Students and Multicultural Affairs
Assistant Dean for
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Assistant Dean for Administration
Director, Career Services
Director, Academic Success
Director, Law School Alumni Relations
Director, Law School Development
Director, Business Law Institute
Director, Dispute Resolution Institute
Director, Health Law Institute
Co-Director, Law Library
Co-Director, Law Library
Director, Legal Research and Writing
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