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Meet Dehlia Umunna, first Nigerian professor at Harvard Law School



Nigerians home and abroad are still celebrating Dehlia Umunna, the first Nigerian professor at prestigious Harvard Law School.

She made history as Harvard’s first Nigerian Law professor in 2015, according to Harvard Law Today.

The professor serves as deputy director and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI).

Umunna’s duties as a Harvard Law Professor consists of governing third-year law students as they represent adult and juvenile clients in criminal and juvenile proceedings before the Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals court.

She is also an author and her teaching interest and research focuses on criminal law, criminal defence and theory, mass incarceration and race issues.

Umunna told Harvard Law Today on her appointment: “I am blessed and honoured to join Harvard Law School’s remarkable faculty

“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.”

The Nigerian academician has worked at Harvard as a lecturer since 2007.

Umunna holds a MSc from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Public Administration, a B.A. in communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and a law degree from George Washington University Law Center.

Before Harvard, the scholar served on the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Clinic board and as an Adjunct Professor of Law and Practitioner in Residence at American University and Washington College of Law.

She also spent several years as a Public Defender, where she served as a trial attorney.

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