African History

Meet Dehlia Umunna, Harvard Law School’s First Nigerian Professor

Dehlia Umunnaimage credit: google.com
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In 2015, Dehlia Umunna made history as Harvard’s first-ever Nigerian Law professor. She has since served as deputy director and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI).

Before this major accomplishment, Dehlia had already been working at Harvard as a lecturer since 2007. She also served on the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Clinic board and was an Adjunct Professor of Law and Practitioner in Residence at American University and Washington College of Law. She even served as a trial attorney for several years.

As a writer, Dehlia has had several articles published in American University’s Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law including an essay she wrote called “Rethinking the Neighborhood Watch: How Lessons from the Nigerian Village Can Creatively Empower the Community to Assist Poor, Single Mothers in America.”

As a Harvard Law Professor, she mentors third-year law students as they represent adult and juvenile clients in criminal and juvenile proceedings before Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals court.

She told Harvard Law Today, “I relish this extraordinary opportunity to continue work that I am truly passionate about, and I am grateful for the deep interest and commitment of the school to issues of criminal justice, mass incarceration, indigent defense, and social justice.”


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