Dehlia Umunna becomes first Nigerian to be appointed a Professor at Harvard Law School

Written by on January 16, 2017

Now, 43-year-old Dehlia Umunna has become the first Nigerian to be appointed Professor in Harvard School of Law. She was appointed Clinical Professor of Law.

Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School has since said, “Dehlia’s students revere her; her colleagues at HLS and nationally look to her as an exemplary advocate, teacher, and mentor.

“From her unprecedented win record in criminal defense trials, her deft leadership of the Criminal Justice Institute day-to-day, and her superb coaching of student moot court teams, her published scholarship, to her numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding work as a criminal defense attorney, advisor, and teacher.

“Dehlia is simply extraordinary, an inspiration to her students and her clients in every way. It is a true privilege to be her colleague.

According to Harvard Law Today, Umunna has been a lecturer at Harvard Law School since 2007. She is the author of the article, “Rethinking the Neighborhood Watch: How Lessons from the Nigerian Village Can Creatively Empower the Community to Assist Poor, Single Mothers in America,” which was published in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law.

She is also Deputy Director and Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute (CJI), through which she supervises third-year law students in criminal and juvenile proceedings and arguments before Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals court.

These students represent adult and juvenile clients. Before joining Harvard, Law School, Umunna was was a trial attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service and an adjunct professor of law and Practitioner in Residence at the Washington College of Law, American University.

In her career, the eminent Lawyer has was a lecturer for several years at the George Washington University Law School.

In addition, Umunna is a board member of the District of Columbia Law Students Law Clinic. She currently serves as a faculty member for Gideon’s Promise, and is a frequent presenter at Public Defender trainings across the country. 

Sharing her joy, Umunna said, “I am blessed and honored to join Harvard Law School’s remarkable faculty.

“I relish this extraordinary opportunity to continue work that I am truly passionate about, and I am grateful for the deep interest and commitment of the school to issues of criminal justice, mass incarceration, indigent defense and social justice.”

Educationally, Umunna holds a Law degree from the George Washington University Law Center and a Masters in Public Administration (MC) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

She also has a B.A. in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino.



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