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David B. Wilkins
Vice Dean, Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession
Director, Program on the Legal Profession
Lester Kissel Professor of Law

Harvard Law School
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Hauser Hall #312
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: +1 (617) 495-0958
Fax: +1 (617) 496-8489
E-mail: dwilkins@law.harvard.edu


Professor Wilkins is the Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, and the faculty director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. He is also a senior research fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a faculty associate of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Professor Wilkins has written extensively on the legal profession in leading scholarly journals and the popular press and is the co-author (along with his Harvard Law School colleague Andrew Kaufman) of one of the leading casebooks in the field. His current scholarly projects on the profession include After the JD, a ten-year nationwide longitudinal study of lawyers' careers, the Harvard Law School Career Study, a quantitative and qualitative examination of how corporations purchase legal services, an empirical project on the development of "ethical infrastructure" in large law firms based on a series of focus groups with leading practitioners and regulators, an examination of the practice of “offshoring” legal work to India, and over 200 in-depth interviews in connection with a forthcoming Oxford University Press book on the development of the black corporate bar.

Professor Wilkins teaches several courses on lawyers and other related professionals, including the country's first four credit Legal Profession course, and seminars on Legal Education for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on Preparing Lawyers for Global Careers, Cause Lawyers, and The Future(s) of the Large Law Firm. He is also one of seven Harvard Law School faculty members who will teach the school’s new required course for all first-year students entitled Problem Solving. Professor Wilkins is a principal faculty member in the Law School’s Executive Education program, where he teaches courses on Leadership in Law Firms and Leadership in Corporate Counsel. He has also served on several Law School and University committees, including the University-wide Task Force on Professional Schools.

Professor Wilkins is a frequent speaker at academic institutions and conferences, bar organizations, and law firms and other professional service organizations in the United States and around the world. He has received numerous honors and awards, including being selected as the 2009 Commencement Speaker at the University of Iowa College of Law and the 2008 Distinguished Scholar by the Order of the Coif. In 2012, he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


AB, Harvard College, 1977
JD, Harvard Law School, 1980

Research and Scholarship

Rethinking the Public-Private Distinction in Legal Ethics: The Case of "Substitute" Attorneys General, 2010 Mich. St. L. Rev. 423 (2010), available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1789124.


Preliminary Report, After the JD:  Wave II (with Terry Adams, Ronit Dinovitzer, Bryant Garth, Robert Nelson, Gabriele Plickert, Joyce Sterling, Gita Wilder, and Rebecca Sandefur).

Team of Rivals?  Toward a New Model of the Corporate Attorney/Client Relationship, in CURRENT LEGAL PROBLEMS 2009, Oxford University Press 2009, available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1517342.

Valuing diversity: Some Cautionary Lessons from the American Experience, in MANAGING THE MODERN LAW FIRM: NEW CHALLENGES, NEW PERSPECTIVES, Laura Empson, ed., Oxford University Press (2007).

Why Are There So Few Black Lawyers in Corporate Law Firms?: An Institutional Analysis, 84 Cal. L. Rev. 493 (1996) (with G. Mitu Gulati).

Who Should Regulate Lawyers?, 105 Harv. L. Rev. 801 (1992).


20th Anniversary Celebration of the Conseil National des Barreaux of France
December 1, 2012
Paris, France
Watch video of this speech (scroll 2/3 down the page to view Professor Wilkins' speech)

Hiring Teams, Firms and Lawyers: Evidence of the Evolving Relationship in the Corporate Legal Market
Keynote Address
University of Wisconsin Law School Symposium
November 18-19, 2011
Madison, Wisconsin
Watch video of this speech


Seminar: Globalization, Lawyers and Emerging Economies

Legal Profession

Problem Solving

Seminar: Legal Education for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on Preparing Lawyers for Global Careers, Spring 2010


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