Professor Hawkins Brings to the Role Extensive Expertise in Clinical and Experiential Education and a Deep Commitment to Advancing Justice and Equity
New York, NY (April 13, 2020) – Professor Kim Hawkins has been appointed the inaugural Stephen J. Ellmann Dean for Clinical and Experiential Learning at New York Law School (NYLS), effective July 1, 2020. The position is named for the late Professor Stephen J. Ellmann (1951–2019), who taught at NYLS for more than 30 years, oversaw the School’s clinical and experiential legal education program, and was a national leader in clinical learning and human rights.
“Professor Kim Hawkins has recognized expertise in clinical and experiential learning and an unwavering commitment to expanding access to justice,” said Anthony W. Crowell, Dean and President of NYLS. “As we navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with this new era of legal education, our students will benefit tremendously from her experience and vision. And as we implement our 2020 Strategic Plan, she will help us add new dimensions to our already exceptional program.”
Professor Hawkins co-founded and co-directs NYLS’s Housing Rights Clinic, which teaches students housing rights advocacy skills in the wake of New York City’s groundbreaking “right to counsel” legislation, and now amid the impact of COVID-19 on tenants. She co-directs the new Housing Justice Leadership Institute at NYLS, which provides first-of-its-kind management and supervision training to housing rights attorneys and is helping New York City’s legal service providers scale their operations. She also co-directs NYLS’s Institute for Excellence in Law Teaching, which explores research and best practices in legal pedagogy, and teaches Legal Practice, NYLS’s innovative first-year experiential skills course.
“I am honored to be taking on this new role,” Professor Kim Hawkins said. “I have devoted my professional life to public interest work and to crafting effective learning opportunities for students. Access to justice is a key component of clinical legal education, and I look forward to continuing working with my NYLS colleagues to build and support our extraordinary array of experiential and clinical course offerings.”
Professor Hawkins’s appointment supports key goals of NYLS’s 2020 Strategic Plan: Ever Upward, including expanding experiential learning opportunities and advancing cutting-edge teaching and learning techniques. In the role, she will oversee the Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning; ensure that NYLS’s clinical and experiential program aligns with the new Strategic Plan and with doctrinal courses; make recommendations to the administration and faculty on faculty hiring; and identify ways to provide all students with experiential learning, beginning with the Legal Practice program in their first year.
“I am confident that Professor Hawkins’s leadership will bolster NYLS’s reputation as a leader in skills-based learning and public interest law,” said William P. LaPiana, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life. “And having worked with Professor Ellmann for decades, I know she is the right person to continue his leadership of our experiential programs.”
“Kim Hawkins is a seasoned and enormously talented teacher, leader, and thinker,” said Professor Andrew Scherer, Policy Director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law at NYLS, who co-teaches the Housing Rights Clinic and co-directs the Housing Justice Leadership Institute with Professor Hawkins. “She has deep insight into and valuable practical experience with law school pedagogy and clinical legal education. She plays a key role in the movement for greater access to justice. She is also tremendously devoted to NYLS’s students and has extraordinary people skills. Her appointment as Dean of Clinical and Experiential Learning will, no doubt, serve the School very well.”
“Professor Hawkins is extremely passionate about civil rights and has always been a strong advocate for the less fortunate,” said Sofia Sequeira-Murillo ’19, a former student in Professor Hawkins’s Housing Civil Rights Clinic and now an Associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. “She taught us essential skills for the practice of law, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from such an amazing professor and lawyer.”
“I was nervous before my first oral argument in Professor Hawkins’s clinic, but she helped me prepare and taught me how to handle the situation like a lawyer,” said Molly Burke ’19, another former student in Professor Hawkins’s Housing Civil Rights Clinic and now the Bronx Borough Coordinator and Staff Attorney at LIFT (Legal Information for Families Today). “With her guidance and support, I felt confident in court that day, and being in her clinic confirmed my commitment to public interest and civil rights law.”
Professor Hawkins earned her B.A. from Duke University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. Prior to teaching at NYLS, she was Director of the Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center, one of the first organizations in the country to provide direct legal services to homeless and at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. She also represented low-income people as a staff attorney for The Legal Aid Society, as well as homeless and at-risk youth at The Door’s Legal Services Center. Professor Hawkins previously taught in New York University Law School’s Lawyering Program and developed course pedagogy focused on experiential learning for NYU Law. Read more.