Camille Nelson has long been an outstanding member of the legal community. Prior to her appointment as Dean of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa | William S. Richardson School of Law Dean Nelson served as Dean of American University Washington College of Law (“WCL”). Prior to her appointment at WCL, she was the first woman and person of color to serve as Dean of Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She was also a Professor of Law at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, a Dean’s Scholar in Residence and Visiting Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, and a Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law. She has taught Contracts, Criminal Law, Torts, Critical Race Theory, Comparative Criminal Law, Transnational Law, Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. Prior to entering academia, Dean Nelson was a litigator at McCarthy Tétrault (a large Canadian law firm), and clerked for Justice Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Dean Nelson’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of critical race theory and cultural studies, with particular emphasis on health law, criminal law and procedure, and comparative law. She has published many impactful articles, chapters, and essays that have appeared in publications such as the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, New York University Review of Law & Social Change. She recently served as a co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education of the Association of American Law Schools.
Her scholarship and leadership in higher education has been recognized through a variety of awards and honors. She was recently named among the Top 35 Women in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine, and was listed as one of the “Most Influential People in Legal Education” by the National Jurist. Dean Nelson also received the Paul Robeson Distinguished Alumni Award from the Black Law Students Association of Columbia Law School in 2017. In recognition of her leadership in diversity and inclusion, Suffolk University Law School’s annual diversity award has been named in her honor. During her time at Saint Louis University School of Law, she was recognized as both Professor of the year and with a Faculty Excellence Award.
Recently, her professional service engagements include serving on the Executive and Steering Committees of the Association of American Law Schools, the board of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the board of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), the President’s Advisory Network on Global Legal Education for the Law School Admissions Council, the board of the Avasant Foundation (with a mission to improve lives and communities by empowering youth in emerging economies through education, employment and entrepreneurship), and the Overseers’ Committee to Visit Harvard Law School. Nelson completed a three-year term on the American Bar Association Center for Innovation, where she chaired the Fellowship Committee. Dean Nelson has previously been appointed to the Senator Warren and Senator Markey Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations.
Dean Nelson holds a B.A. with high distinction from the University of Toronto in Administration, a magna cum laude law degree from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School.