Dean 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 in 2020, Dean Nelson served as Dean of American University Washington College of Law (“WCL”), and as Dean of Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She was also a Professor of Law at the 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, where she was recognized as both Professor of the Year and with a university Faculty Excellence Award. She has taught Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law, Comparative Criminal Law, Transnational Law, Critical Race Theory, Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility at a number of law schools, including the University of Ottawa, Seattle University School of Law, Université Paris Dauphine, and the University of Puerto Rico. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute. Prior to entering academia, Dean Nelson was a litigator at McCarthy Tétrault (a large Canadian law firm), and clerked for Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada, the nation’s highest court.
Dean Nelson’s scholarship focuses on health law, criminal law and procedure, comparative law, and leadership, through the lens of cultural studies and critical race theory. She recently served as a co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education of the Association of American Law Schools. 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, and the Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law.
Her scholarship and leadership in higher education have been recognized through a variety of awards and honors. She was 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.
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), Teach for America (Hawai‘i), and the Overseers’ Committee to Visit Harvard Law School. She completed a three-year term on the American Bar Association Center for Innovation, where she chaired the Fellowship Committee. Dean Nelson was 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.