BBN Special

Meet 43 year-old Prof. Dahlia Umunna, first Nigerian to be appointed in Harvard School of Law

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Celebrating the first Nigerian to be appointed Professor in Harvard School of Law.

Nigerians in diaspora continue to do exploits. In this special report, BlackBox Nigeria chronicles the rise and rise of Dahlia Umunna who now holds a record no other Nigerian has ever held or currently holds in the United State of America, USA.


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Dahlia Umunna, 43 years old is the first Nigerian to be appointed Professor in Harvard School of Law.


Dehlia Umunna was appointed Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.


She has been a lecturer at HLS since 2007, and is Deputy Director and Clinical Instructor at HLS’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI), in which she supervises third-year law students in their representation of adult and juvenile clients in criminal and juvenile proceedings and arguments before Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals court.



“Dehlia’s students revere her; her colleagues at HLS and nationally look to her as an exemplary advocate, teacher, and mentor,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School.

He further revealed that,


“From her unprecedented win record in criminal defense trials, her deft leadership of the Criminal Justice Institute day-to-day, and her superb coaching of student moot court teams, her published scholarship, to her numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding work as a criminal defense attorney, advisor, and teacher, Dehlia is simply extraordinary, an inspiration to her students and her clients in every way. It is a true privilege to be her colleague.”

Prior to coming to Harvard Law School, Umunna was a trial attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service and an adjunct professor of law and Practitioner in Residence at the Washington College of Law, American University. She currently serves as a faculty member for Gideon’s Promise, and is a frequent presenter at Public Defender trainings across the country. She was a board member of the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Clinic and was a guest lecturer for several years at the George Washington University Law School.



She is the author of the article “Rethinking the Neighborhood Watch: How Lessons from the Nigerian Village Can Creatively Empower the Community to Assist Poor, Single Mothers in America,” published in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law.



“I am blessed and honored to join Harvard Law School’s remarkable faculty,” said Umunna.


She further expressed,


“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.”


Umunna received her law degree from the George Washington University Law Center. She also holds a Masters in Public Administration (MC) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino.

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