The First Woman of Color to Serve as Dean of the St. Thomas University School of Law

Tamara F. Lawson has been named dean of St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida. Professor Lawson, who had been serving as interim dean since June 2018, will be the first woman of color to hold this position.

Dean Lawson previously served as the law school’s associate dean for faculty development from 2013 to 2017, and was associate dean for academic affairs from 2017 to June 2018. She has been a law school faculty member since 2004 and has taught courses on criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and a seminar on race and law.

During her tenure at the law school, Dean Lawson has been named Professor of the Year twice. Additionally, she led a law school effort to reform its first-year curriculum and launch a three-year academic success program. Since the implementation of the program, St. Thomas Law has seen its bar passage rate steadily increase, most recently performing among the top five law schools in the state on the July 2018 bar exam.

Dean Lawson has also made contributions to the academic law community at large. She created the Deans of Color Retreat; an annual event for law school deans and program directors designed to promote diversity and foster the professional development of minority law school administrators. She also serves extensively in various sections of the Association of American Law Schools.

Before starting her career in academia, Dean Lawson was a deputy district attorney in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas, Nevada. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College in California, a juris doctorate from the University of San Francisco, and a master of law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.


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