Howard University

Message from the Dean

We are beginning this year during one of the most contentious presidential elections on record. This election has raised numerous issues about the continuing vitality of the Voting Rights Act, restrictive voter legislation enacted in or pending in more than 30 states, and the numerous efforts by civil rights groups to ensure voters are protected and able to vote on November 6, 2012. This fall, you can expect several programs sponsored or co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean, Office of Academic Affairs, the Student Bar Association, and other student organizations addressing these important issues connected with the November elections.

In addition, there will be other significant programs like the celebration of Constitution Law Day, which will be a week of programs and activities at the law school and on main campus. Also planned is the Ninth Annual Wiley A. Branton/Howard Law Journal Symposium titled Protest & Polarization: Law and Debate in America 2012, featuring keynote speaker Tomiko Brown-Nagin, esteemed professor of law at Harvard Law School and author of the award-winning book Courage to Dissent. The Symposium is co-sponsored by the Howard Law Journal, Sidley Austin LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and the National Bar Association. This Symposium is especially timely now! Finally, the Office of Career Services is very busy managing the OCI process for upper-class students as well as offering many programs to assist students with planning for their summer or first year of full legal employment upon graduation from law school.

We welcome the Class of 2015 to our law school community. They had an outstanding Pinning Ceremony on August 17, 2012, with keynote speaker and alumna Nicole Austin-Hillery, Class of 2000. Ms. Austin-Hillery, who is Director and Counsel of The Brennan Center in Washington, DC, shared some important lessons from her public interest career that allowed her to carry out the social justice mission of the law school. Furthermore, we are very pleased to have a new faculty member, Assistant Professor Valerie Schneider, who is the Supervising Attorney for the Fair Housing Clinic. Also, two visiting professors, Lenese Herbert, from Albany School of Law in Albany, New York, and Keeva Terry, from Roger Williams School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island, will be at the School of Law during the 2012-2013 academic year. We are delighted to have these faculty members as a part of our learning community.

I encourage you to participate in and attend the various programs and activities that are available at the law school and on the main campus as your time permits as they are a part of the whole educational experience. Also, remember to be supportive of your colleagues because we are all a part of this community. As Cesar Chavez once said, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”


Okianer Christian Dark
Interim Dean