Dehlia Umunna

Clinical Professor of Law


Dehlia Umunna is the Deputy Director and Clinical Instructor at the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) at Harvard Law School, where she supervises third year law students in their representation of adult and juvenile clients in criminal and juvenile proceedings. Ms. Umunna also provides classroom instruction on lawyering skills and the application of criminal law, procedure, rules of evidence, motions and trial practice, and constitutional protections to the development of defense strategy. She is also the coach of the HLS team at the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy and the HLS BLSA Trial team; both teams have won numerous national and regional awards. Prior to joining CJI, Ms Umunna spent seven years at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) as a trial attorney. At PDS, she represented indigent clients in hundreds of cases that ranged in seriousness from misdemeanor charges of theft, assault, and drug possession, to felony charges of narcotics distribution, firearms possession, armed robbery, kidnapping, child sexual abuse, rape and homicide. Some of Ms. Umunna's cases received nationwide media attention. At PDS, Ms. Umunna was a felony one trial attorney, representing clients in the most serious of felonies and serving as lead counsel in many trials. She also served as a presenter in training attorneys under the Criminal Justice Act . From 2002 to 2007, Ms. Umunna was an adjunct professor of law and Practitioner in Residence at American University, Washington College of law,(WCL). Ms. Umunna currently serves as a faculty member for the Southern Public Defender's Training Center. She was a board member of the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Clinic and was a guest lecturer for several years at the George Washington University Law School. She also is a frequent presenter at Public Defender Training Conferences around the country. Ms. Umunna is a member of the Massachusetts, Maryland, District of Columbia bar associations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from California State University, a JD from George Washington University Law School and a Masters in Public Administration (MC) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her article "Rethinking the Neighborhood Watch: How Lessons from Nigerian Villages Can Creatively Empower Communities to Assist Low-Income, Single Mothers In America", was recently published in AM. U. J. GENDER, SOC. POL'Y & L. (Volume 20, Number 4)