Professor David Wilkins '80

Professor David Wilkins ’80

David Wilkins, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at HLS, has been selected to be the 2009 commencement speaker at the University of Iowa College of Law’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

The director of the Program on the Legal Profession at HLS, Wilkins was selected for the honor by students and faculty in recognition of his study of the legal profession.

Wilkins has already decided on the title of his address: “Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: Opportunity and Challenge in the New New Economy.”

Since joining the HLS faculty in 1986, he has written extensively on the legal profession, with an emphasis on the experiences of black lawyers in corporate law firms. He is the author of “The Black Bar: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education and the Future of Race and the American Legal Profession” (forthcoming, Oxford University Press); “Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession,” (Carolina Press 4th ed. 2002), with Andrew Kaufman; and more than 40 articles on legal ethics, law firms, and the legal profession in books, law reviews, and in the legal and popular press.

He is currently working on After the JD, a nationwide longitudinal study of lawyers’ careers, and an empirical investigation into how corporations purchase legal services.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Earlier in his career, he was an associate at Nussbaum Owen & Webster in Washington, D.C. Wilkins is a visiting senior research fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a faculty associate of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.