Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

David Wilkins

Lester Kissel Professor of Law; Director, Program on the Legal Profession; Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School
  • Faculty Fellow, 1989-1990
  • Faculty Associate, 1990-2009
  • Faculty Committee, 2009-

David 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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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Professor Wilkins was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics in 1989-1990, and became a Faculty Associate of the Ethics Center at the end of that year.